Elevate Difference

The Fresh & Onlys

While comparing one band to another is often nothing short of calling a group unoriginal, The Fresh & Onlys blend mood and instrumentation so cleverly that they are great in their own right—despite sonic similarities to preceding groups.

The ‘60s-flavored rock seems to draw inspiration from The Mamas and The Papas, and breathe a contained recording quality similar to Fleet Foxes. At the same time, the group doesn’t hesitate to erupt into intriguing interludes and addictive lyrics characteristic of The Strokes. The Strokes similarity is most potent on the sixth track of The Fresh & Onlys self-titled album, “Peaock and Wing”—tambourine, popping bass notes, and sing-songy poetry are a danceable transition from the echoing and reverb of the preceding song, “Imaginary Friends.”

On the poppy side of things, the band includes adorable soft female back-up vocals, “You should really be my fresh and only/You’d have a smile on your face that I could always see on you/Lay with me in my bed of roses/You’d have a smile on your face that I could only see on you.” A mere three minutes and seventeen seconds later, though, they shift to a sort of distant crooning, “Do you know what’s worse than a nuclear disaster? That is the kind there is no more after.”

With popularity radiating slowly from their hometown of San Francisco, the band has been able to get out of the basement, but sadly aren’t getting on stages much further from home than Portland—at least through August 2009. If you live in the northwest, however, you should check out one of the handful of summer shows they have listed on their Myspace page. Even if you don’t live in the area, stopping by to give The Fresh & Onlys a listen might give you a new band to anticipate blowing up so they can play in a city near you.

I recommend being their fresh and only, because, as they say, you’d have a smile on your face that they could only see on you.

Written by: Tatiana Ryckman, June 26th 2009