The Fresh & Onlys, Secret Walls

Marissa G. Muller

By Marissa G. Muller

on 04.15.11 in Reviews
Ditching their reverb-laden, distortion-heavy MO for deliberate vocals and daily-picked acoustics

The epicenter of rock 'n' roll in the '60s, San Francisco has recently emerged as the breeding ground for young cut-ups: Thee Oh Sees, Sic Alps, Ty Segall and the Fresh & Onlys now own that city's psych-informed garage rock scene and like those bands, the Fresh & Onlys have lately begun to refine their aesthetic. Secret Walls sees the band ditching their reverb-laden, distortion-heavy MO for more deliberate (but still thunderous) vocals and daintily-picked acoustics. The title track and "Keep Telling Everybody Lies" are Western Noir nods with evenly-paced bass lines and Johnny Cash-inspired vocals. There's no sonic wobbling or fumbling here. Despite the instrumental restraint, Secret Walls is still a festival-ready collection of songs with a refined bravado that both veteran and newcomer Fresh & Onlys fans can connect with.