The Young Fresh Fellows

It's Low Beat Time

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The Young Fresh Fellows' eighth full-length was a rushed, on-the-move affair, with multiple producers and recording sessions that took place in five different studios. The results are, not surprisingly, uneven, with varied production and song quality, though the album has its moments. The ghost of the Sonics is all over the distorted garage rock of "99 Girls" and "She Won't Budge" (both recorded at the same studio as Here Are the Sonics), and the bleak sparseness found on Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers is once again harnessed for "Faultless." Scott McCaughey puts his Beach Boys worship to use for the first time on "The Crafty Clerk," a cinematic homage to the Pet Sounds/Smile era and the grandest Fellows production yet (as well as a hint of things to come in McCaughey's Minus 5). Kurt Bloch's melodic "Mr. Anthony's Last" stands out among the more traditional YFF rockers, as does the inspired filler of "Low Beat" (shades of "Taco Wagon" here). And then there's the bipolar, frenzied guitar rock cum laid-back country number, "Snow White." It's Low Beat Time would prove to be the final Young Fresh Fellows record for five years, prompting breakup rumors, though the group never formally disbanded.

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