Young Fresh Fellows

Electric Bird Digest

Frontier, 1991

Y'know, I like jangly music as much as anybody, and more than most. Sometimes, though, it just gets too much for me. That's when I'm overjoyed to hear something like the new Young Fresh Fellows album; great hook-laden melodic rock songs played on guitars that buzz and whine instead of twanging. Vocal harmonies are lean and effective, complementing the melodic approach without softening the overall effect. The exception that proves the rule is the jangly guitar and droning organ of "Whirlpool", reminding me of Camper Van Beethoven's "Lassie goes to the Moon". Main songwriter Scott McCaughey expertly balances on the line between zany and sensitive. He can write a superficially absurd song like "Hillbilly Drummer Girl" ("She's a legend and a landmark") and yet make you wish this Ozark percussionist played in your band. The songs aren't quite the instant classics that made up "The Men Who Loved Music" and "This One's For the Ladies", so I'd have to rank this album below those in the YFF canon -- but only slightly.

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