If you’ve been following the Fresh & Onlys over the last year or so, you probably saw that the Secret Walls EP lurked just around the corner. Tim Cohen has been changing his own approach, and with that, so too goes the band’s sound. This isn’t a bad thing by any means, unless of course you’re against change and progression.
“Secret Walls” feels like the culmination of the last few things Cohen and his friends have released. Those hazy guitars have dispersed, though you’ll still find a cascading bit of angular guitar soloing coursing through the song. What’s unique is that Tim sounds like some forlorn crooner, and he does it perfectly. Such steps are slowly redefining the group’s sound, surely bringing along more fans as they go.
If you listen carefully to “Keep Telling Everybody Lies” then you’ll probably see a bit of a resemblance to a lost recording of some David Lynch movie opener, but Cohen’s vocals here revert to that warmth, something he’s now got great control over. There’s hints of spaghetti western guitar, and a steady percussive pace keep the whole number afloat. Then the Fresh & Onlys go back to what they do best, progressing their sound, while maintaining their effortless cool. ”Do You Believe in Destiny” definitely rings aloud like a love track, and the Western sway of guitars gives it a bit of that California cool. While in the past the band have managed to have this darkness coating their albums, this track portrays the sunnier undertones that live throughout the Secret Walls EP.
“Wash Over Us’ provides more of the same, cleaning the guitar sounds, as the group has done over the past several releases, and light piano tinkering continues to show a move towards a more pop-oriented spin for this short collection. Don’t fret, “Poison Wine” brings back the element of shadowy haunts that the band has always pulled off so well. Cohen’s vocals seem to be hiding, almost creeping behind the rest of the band. It’s not the most musical of tracks, which is perhaps its drawback, as this appears more as a construction of mood. If that’s what they’re going for on this number, then they pull it off with great success.
Secret Walls seems like a brief foray into the group’s material, a stop-over while they continue to develop their sound. It’s a great collection, and one that fans will fall in love with, but what’s more important is that it demonstrates a band that has such diversity in their writing that they can pretty much go anywhere they want to; when they go, I’m sure we’ll all adore it.
Download: The Fresh & Onlys – Do You Believe in Destiny [MP3]