The gay capital of the world and Mecca for ageing hippies, San Francisco, in 2009, is better known as a city coughing up some of the worst named garage bands around (hello Nodzzz, Thee Oh Sees, Trainwreck Riders). It’s also a town where said bands write some quite brilliant slacker/surf/60s pop, and you can lump The Fresh And Onlys in that camp on both accounts. ‘Grey-Eyed Girls’ begins prowling to an up-tempo Jim Morrison purr (‘Black Coffin’) thus pitching The Fresh and Onlys above their peers. While others whinge like Black Lips, this 5-piece gallop on sounding their best when vocals are kept low and bellowing. The disappointment comes, then, when singers switch to someone far less Johnny Cash (‘What’s His Shadow…’ particularly). If only they’d embrace their mumbling Iggy side, this band could be far superior to their name.

By Stuart Stubbs

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