The Young Fresh Fellows

This One's for the Ladies

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When guitarist Chuck Carroll left the Young Fresh Fellows, he seemed to have taken some of the band's engaging silliness along with him; with Fastbacks leader Kurt Bloch assuming fretboard responsibilities on This One's for the Ladies, the Fellows' sound got decidedly bigger and louder (Bloch's big, fuzzy leads are a marked switch from Carroll's more modest style, though if the liner notes are to be believed, everyone plays lead guitar on this album...that is, when they're not busy with a drum solo). As the band's musical approach got a bit more weighty, so did Scott McCaughy's songwriting; instead of shooting for laughs each time out, "Middle Man of Time," "Deep Down and in Between," and "Wishing Ring" find him dipping into his personal concerns and romantic missteps for a change, and Kurt Bloch's contributions, which sound decidedly different (a lot like Fastbacks tunes, to the surprise of no one) feature his usual mixture of angst and pop-punk hooks (this being the Fellows, pop outruns punk by several lengths). But the arena rock goof of the title track and the instrumental rock parody/tribute "Taco Wagon" (which Carroll helped to write) prove that the band was still very much in touch with their sense of humor, while the cover of the Kinks' "Picture Book" finds McCaughey translating Ray Davies' British whimsy to the Pacific Northwest and making it work. And the band manages to have it both ways as the downcast "When I'm Lonely Again" segues into a joyously raging version of Billy Childish's "One Day You Die." This One's for the Ladies showed that the Young Fresh Fellows didn't necessarily want to be the life of the party all the time, but they still knew how to have a good time -- and communicate it to others.

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