Monday, May 16, 2011

New material from Andrew Campbell, Fresh & Onlys


“You Can Count On It”

* * * 1/2


After releasing a number of excellent demo singles early this year, former Handshake member Andrew Campbell has released his first official single, a reworked version of “You Can Count On It.” His vocals are higher in the mix, the background is denser, and a glockenspiel comes hopping by towards the end of the song. The single retains the demo’s lazy seaside-cottage vibe, but it’s denser, poppier, and more balladlike. Campbell’s smoky voice, vaguely reminiscent of that of Beach House’s Victoria Legrand, evokes a man who’s probably broken a lot of hearts but now just wants to settle down. However, Campbell’s voice is better-suited to floating around in the background, and as it did on the demo version of this song, rather than pressing against the listener’s ear (as it does on this song/version). Though it doesn’t beat the demo, it retains plenty of the feel and stark romanticism of the original.


Secret Walls EP

* * *

The insanely prolific San Francisco group has released yet another mini-album, this time exploring a style completely different from the scuzzy garage-punk on last year’s Play It Strange. The 18-minute Secret Walls EP showcases slow songs with only slightly distorted guitars and quite a bit more keyboard than usual. While some of the melodies here are quite pretty (the guitarwork on “Do You Believe In Destiny?” is particularly gorgeous), these songs are often a bit too lethargic to command the listener’s full attention. Not to say slow is bad--it just has to be interesting enough to keep your mind moving along with it.

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