Friday, 26 October 2012

Album review: THE FRESH & ONLYS - Long Slow Dance

Highlights: 20 Days And 20 Nights, Presence Of Mind, Dream Girls

This is one of those albums you would rather call well-written than great. It’s not that it lacks an edge (it doesn’t) or memorable hooks (we have them) – it’s the fact that Tim Cohen just doesn’t have the songwriting chops to come up with a truly signature tune. Still, the album has enough taste (oh yes) and smooth, soothing, sophisticated indie pop melodicism to win you over. At some point; if you care to give it a chance.

While Long Slow Dance is essentially a collection of pretty little straightforward pop songs, its impact is not exactly immediate. At first all you feel is unassuming, slow-burning charm; Cohen’s low-key, slightly tortured vocals; lush, non-threatening guitars – but not substance. I guess “20 Days And 20 Nights” is a perfect 3-minute opener, but all that follows just gets away with being, well, nice – in a hazy, Shins-like sort of way. And no, they never reveal themselves to be understated pop classics, but lovely little gems they certainly are. There’s that catchy, delightful vibe of “Dream Girls”, there’s that excellent vocal melody of “Fire Alarm” (that chooses to have the no-not-again riff of “I Can’t Explain” playing in the background).

The album actually gets more adventurous towards the end, but that’s not necessarily something I welcome. “Euphoria” is more complex but also more boring, and the 6-minute trippy epic “Foolish Person” doesn’t really justify its length (the first part is good though).  

I do recommend this album, but with certain reservations. You really have to like your pop music sophisticated and subdued. But the songs are good. Or, to be more precise, good enough. Ah well, just have a look at the cover - will tell you more than any review.


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