[sic] Magazine

The Fresh & Onlys – Early Years Anthology

Bay Area legends The Fresh & Onlys invite you back to a time before their fascination with the sombre British indie of the 80s reached full penetration, back to a time before synths and production values to a land of ramshackle garage-psyche and to a period when easy-going jangles dripped from Tim Cohen’s fingers and swiftly spooled onto tape.

The year is 2008 and the band’s S/T debut is charming ears the length of the West Coast. The Early Years Anthology is that album’s basement-dwelling wingman. Along with guitarist Wymond Miles and bass-for-hire Shayde Sartin, Cohen is in the middle of a purple patch and cardboard-box percussion and lo-fi capture isn’t going to stop him getting his many melodies into song form. Consequently, the Early Years Anthology is an embarrassment of reverbed riches, surfabilly basslines the vehicle for Cohen’s varied freak-outs and Miles’ tinpot riffs and toe-tapping harmonies.

Every track blends killer pop with squirming garage Nuggets, bouncing guitars giving way to creepy barroom piano, blasts of harmonica, weirdo tape loops and tender choruses that link the then and the now. The comically poor production of “Don’t Look Down” lets theatrical organ pogo along unchecked like an early Ty Segall live-show. The heavy-thrumbed bass and rickety melody of “Tongue In Cheek” lurches from stomping solo to strange asides and exploratory cul-de-sacs.

Interested not only in imaginative musical narratives, Cohen hides some classic-sounding storytelling in plain sight, too. “Double Sided Woman” is about fancying one identical twin more than the other and the dark subject matter of “Pile Of Bones” is made all that more uneasy by the track’s laid-back, Hawaiian garage-pop vibes that shuffle like shifting sands on the shore. The Early Years Anthology is not only an important record of a band in its infancy, it’s one of the garage-psyche documents of the period.

~The Early Years Anthology will be released September 18th 2015 via Castle Face.~