Returning to Castle Face Records for the release of a compilation of tracks left off their self-titled debut LP in 2009, Early Years Anthology is full of the bright garage-rock The Fresh & Onlys have come to be known for. This album is a perfect mix of jangly, rugged gloom and catchy, sunshiny, San Francisco pop. It is clear, though, that they were just starting out when these songs were created.
There’s a kind of passionate swiftness felt throughout the work, as if it was done lovingly, but also hurriedly. At a few points during the album, the vocals are quite noticeably buried under the guitar. Whether this is done with purpose, I can’t be sure, but the heavy instrumental style is not often repeated in later work like Soothsayer (2013) and House of Spirits (2014).
To be fair, the guitar is as great as always, particularly the riff found in Deviants Within. Though they’ve perhaps become more polished (if garage-rock can ever truly warrant the word) over the years, it’s great to see that the dual nature of bright and dirty hasn’t changed all that much over the years.
Recommended If You Like: Real Estate, Sonny & The Sunsets, Thee Oh Sees
Recommended Tracks: 1 (Tongue In My Cheek), 4 (Summer Wheels), 10 (Ooh I Got Got), 12 (Pile Of Bones)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Bethany Colson on 09/02/15