The quartet—Tim Cohen, Shayde Sartin, Wymond Miles, and Kyle Gibson— got started in 2008 and look exactly like a biker gang composed of record store employees who could stomp your ass while shouting Kobaïan (that language ‘70s French prog band Magma made up) at you, if they felt like it. So, it’s cool if you feel a bit unnerved when first meeting these four shaggy San Franciscans, even if that meeting only occurs via their songs.
There’s something very bad-ass about their music; it’s entirely assured and brazenly unique. You are free to think of them as part of a vibrant Bay Area scene (because they are) or try to link them to the nu-garage movement of several years ago (which is a stretch).
Whichever contextual lens you use, it hardly matters. The band is so comfortable with mixing and matching seemingly disparate genre elements at this point that, as a listener, it’s easy to feel like a mouse batted about in a corner by a housecat. It is tasteful, of course, and it does this at the service of forceful songs—frequently witty and often lovely songs. That’s the real reason it’s difficult to stop playing this album once you start. And there you have it—the Fresh and Onlys, here to mess with your head and you have you say “Thank you.”