I first decided to play this 'cause the word "psych" was used somewhere in some marketing piece. It's not psychedelic at all. It's weird. And wild. And pretty wonderful. I'm talking about the new one from Fresh Snow. ONE, out tomorrow on Hand Drawn Dracula, is a set of odd, near-avant-garde tunes played with the sort of fearlessness not heard in indie realms since the glory days of Sonic Youth and No New York.
On ONE, the four-piece unveils some far-ranging bits of noise, from the driving "January Skies" to the near-Cabaret Voltaire electronica of the wonderfully-titled "Mass Graves / Dance Caves" and onward. On "I Can't Die" the band works up a simmering riff-rocker that recalls the quieter moments from D.C.'s own Tone, while "Three-Way Mirror" buzzes with a sort of odd, quiet energy. On the excellent "I Am Smitten With Your Wrath", Fresh Snow cultivate a sort of sound not unlike the more extreme moments of quiet techno, or the darkest reaches of something like a Non track. Near the end of the album, the elegiac and mournful "Anytime Minutes" segues nicely into the quiet-loud bits of the near-shoegaze epic "Flat White".
Fresh Snow make music far outside any easy genre label. This is bold, brave stuff that doesn't necessarily equate volume with power. There are unsettling bits here, and beautiful ones, but the overall effect of ONE is one that recalls the very best era of risk-taking in alternative music.
[Photo: Bella Gwendolyn Giovannini]