The Fresh & Onlys stay fresh on their sixth album, Wolf Lie Down.Sinderlyn Records, 2017
7.5 / 10
Tim Cohen is on a roll this year. Already he struck gold with his solo album, Luck Man. Now, his return to his longtime band The Fresh & Onlys yields strong results on the band’s sixth album, Wolf Lie Down. However, there is a change with this album as the band’s size dwindles down to the core duo of Cohen and guitarist Wymond Miles. Former members Shayde Sartin and Kyle Gibson still show up to provide rhythm duties while James Kim and James Barone playing drums on various songs. However, Wolf Lie Down is mostly the product of Cohen and Miles, and they deliver one that’s strong and keeps The Fresh & Onlys…well…fresh.
What helps is Cohen’s songwriting is hitting its peak. For Wolf Lie Down, he drops some absolutely great songs. One of those, “Impossible Man”, has potential to be remembered more than this album as a whole. Not to say the rest is bad, but this song is an absolute stunner. Originally, Cohen titled the song, “Invisible Man”, and loosely based it on Ralph Ellison’s novel. Cohen decided to change it to avoid too much similarity. Name change aside, it’s an energetic song with a wild spirit. The backing vocals, which sound like “mee mee mah mah,” are terrific in giving the song a rousing momentum as Cohen feverously sings about a man hoping to find good love.
Also good is the album’s closing track, “Black Widow”. Here, there’s a narrative about the dark side of human nature, a jewel thief, and a black widow. Yes, it’s a little out there, but its gentle acoustic melody with frequent bursts of psychedelic noise is gorgeous. Elsewhere, Cohen and Miles’ musically lean on a Western folk and garage rock sound. It leads to songs like “Becomings”. This one feels like it should be the intro song for the new season of True Detective. On the other hand, no TV show would know what to do with “Qualm of Innocence”. It boasts a funky Americana charm before bringing in weird sci-fi noises and a gospel backing choir. There’s a lot of variety while keeping the album cohesive. And the listeners will never get bored.