5 Songs, 18 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Secret Walls opens with The Fresh & Onlys further exploring their fetish for goth-laced guitar-pop of the ‘80s. The title-track overflows with bewitchingly gloomy melodies sung by Tim Cohen in a lower register through cavernous reverb effects. Cohen’s haunting performance on “Secret Walls” recalls Echo & The Bunnymen’s heyday with a slightly swirling haze of jangly guitars. His inflections dive deeper into the baritone realm on “Keep Telling Everyone Lies.” As descending chords match his deep timbre, the song begins to sound like Lee Hazlewood singing “Here Without You” with backing vocal harmonies. Cohen and company return to fawning over Phil Spector-painted melodrama on “Do You Believe In Destiny?” where walls of sound are forged from surfy guitar leads, rumbling bass runs, tasteful percussion, acoustic guitar strumming and a “Be My Baby” rhythm. By the time “Wash Over Us” delivers the band’s best break-up song to date, it’s evident that this EP isn’t a sunny day affair — but that’s hardly a bad thing.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Secret Walls opens with The Fresh & Onlys further exploring their fetish for goth-laced guitar-pop of the ‘80s. The title-track overflows with bewitchingly gloomy melodies sung by Tim Cohen in a lower register through cavernous reverb effects. Cohen’s haunting performance on “Secret Walls” recalls Echo & The Bunnymen’s heyday with a slightly swirling haze of jangly guitars. His inflections dive deeper into the baritone realm on “Keep Telling Everyone Lies.” As descending chords match his deep timbre, the song begins to sound like Lee Hazlewood singing “Here Without You” with backing vocal harmonies. Cohen and company return to fawning over Phil Spector-painted melodrama on “Do You Believe In Destiny?” where walls of sound are forged from surfy guitar leads, rumbling bass runs, tasteful percussion, acoustic guitar strumming and a “Be My Baby” rhythm. By the time “Wash Over Us” delivers the band’s best break-up song to date, it’s evident that this EP isn’t a sunny day affair — but that’s hardly a bad thing.

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About The Fresh & Onlys

The Fresh & Onlys started out as a collaboration between frontman Tim Cohen (Black Fiction) and bassist Shayde Sartin, who started putting songs together in 2004. The Fresh & Onlys' lineup eventually expanded to include Kyle Gibson, Wymond Miles, and Heidi Alexander (who soon left the band); drawing from a hodgepodge of influences (among them Buzzcocks, the Mekons, and Country Joe MacDonald), the new lineup arrived over time at a grimy yet sunny pop sound along the lines of Saturday Looks Good to Me and Welcome with plenty of garage rock mixed in. In early 2008, they issued their first recording, the Imaginary Friends EP, on their friend Kelley Stoltz's label, then released another single, "Chuffed," later in the year.

After they self-released the Medicine Island cassette, John Dwyer's Castle Face label put out their self-titled debut album in April of 2009, and a 7" single, "I'll Tell You Everything," on Dirty Knobby Industries followed. The band's second full-length album, Grey-Eyed Girls, was released on Woodsist in the fall of 2009. It was followed by a flood of recordings in 2010: an EP for Captured Tracks (August on My Mind); a handful of singles for various labels; and finally their third album, Play It Strange, which was released in October by In the Red. The group began 2011's output with an EP in April called Secret Walls, released on the Sacred Bones label. Also that year, Cohen released an album (Ruler of the Night) on Hardly Art with his other band, Magic Trick, and Miles released a solo album (Under the Pale Moon) for Sacred Bones.

The Fresh & Onlys returned in August of 2012 with their fourth album and first for Mexican Summer, the thoughtful and relatively slickly produced Long Slow Dance. The group followed up with an EP, Soothsayer, in 2013, while Cohen and Miles also found time that year to release another Magic Trick album (River of Souls) and solo album (Cut Yourself Free), respectively. The band's fifth album, House of Spirits, was written by Cohen while visiting an isolated Arizona horse ranch and reflected a laid-back Western feel. It was released by Mexican Summer in June of 2014. ~ Margaret Reges

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