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I Think This Is

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Album Review

A mere 25 years after releasing their first LP, the Young Fresh Fellows have clearly decided it was time to get serious about their career, and they brought in a name producer to man the boards for I Think This Is, their first album since 2001's Because We Hate You. The producer in question is Robyn Hitchcock, a shrewd choice since he's previously never produced an album for anyone other than himself, and the former Soft Boy actually does make his presence felt in this recording. While the Young Fresh Fellows have often displayed a gleeful sense of eclecticism on record, jumping from style to style as they skip from one tune to the next, I Think This Is is an unusually focused and coherent-sounding set; though the songs reflect the Fellows' wide-ranging tastes, from the peppy '60s pop of "Go Blue Angels Go" and the semi-disco vamp of "The Ballad of the Bootleg" to the punk-leaning snap of "Shake Your Magazines," and the garage rock snarl of "Let the Good Times Crawl," with Hitchcock behind the board the recording has a uniformly crisp and centered sound, as Scott McCaughey's and Kurt Bloch's guitars dominate the mix, and the melodies drive the performances instead of playing tricks with the arrangements to give each track its own sound. Since McCaughey has been devoting much of his time to his other band, the Minus 5, and playing as a sideman with R.E.M., it should come as no surprise that many of the songs on I Think This Is sound more like McCaughey's work for other acts than his previous work with the Young Fresh Fellows; the quality of the songs is uniformly good, but "If You Believe in Cleveland" and "Your Mexican Restaurant" reflect a side of the band's personality that seems to have gotten lost on "Used to Think All Things Would Happen" and "The Guilty Ones." This is a cleaner, neater, and less cluttered Young Fresh Fellows' album than one might expect, but I Think This Is still reveals the quirky joy this band can summon like no other, and after an eight-year layoff, having them back is good news, even on an album that's good but not exceptional.


Formed: 1982 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Unsung heroes of the Seattle rock community, the witty, rough-edged pop unit Young Fresh Fellows formed in 1982. Originally comprised of vocalist/bassist Scott McCaughey, guitarist Chuck Carroll, and drummer Tad Hutchison, the group debuted in 1984 with The Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest, an understated pop nugget featuring whimsical numbers including "Teenage Dogs in Trouble," "Power Mowers Theme," and "Rock and Roll Pest Control." After recruiting bassist Jim Sangster to allow frontman...
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I Think This Is, Young Fresh Fellows
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