The Fresh & Onlys, 'Play It Strange' (In The Red)

8
Play It Strange
Critical Mass
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Label: In The Red

by David Menconi

Nobody gets credited for "echo" on this San Francisco quartet's remarkably mature second album, but that's an oversight. Play It Strange is suffused with a deep, widescreen ambience that assumes an almost physical presence. Between its psychedelic flip-outs, winsome hooks, shaky tempos, and Ennio Morricone atmospherics, the album sounds like Nuggets emanating from a vividly hip space station. Vintage reference points include the "19th Nervous Breakdown" squiggle on "Until the End of Time," and Timothy Cohen's wryly droll first-song declaration that "it's the summer of love." Then liftoff commences.

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