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Friday, Sep 07, 2012 8:30 PM PDT
Echo, Los Angeles, CA
18 years and over

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When someone tells me an album has no bad songs, I get dubious– not about the claim, but about how ambitious a record that avoids failure could be. Well, there’s not a bad song on Play It Strange, and yet there’s ambition all over it. The Fresh & Onlys’ mix of Buddy Holly melody, Byrds twang, and beatific joy might seem conservatively retro, in line with the garage leanings of San Francisco comrades Thee Oh Sees, the Mantles, and Sonny & the Sunsets. But the band constantly stretches those parameters, whether in the sprawling, eight-minute “Tropical Island Suite”, the bombast of “Who Needs a Man”, or a deceptively dark opener ironically titled “Summer of Love”. So while it’s fair to call Play It Strange a non-stop hit parade, the Fresh & Onlys deserve just as much credit for shooting at tons of different targets.Pitchfork


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