The Young Fresh Fellows

Topsy Turvy

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A marked improvement on the Young Fresh Fellows' funny and catchy but pretty inconsistent debut, 1985's Topsy Turvy is one of the great indie albums of its year. It expands from the one-note pop-punk of their debut by incorporating elements of psychedelia, bracing garage rock, and even some only semi-ironic balladry. ("The New John Agar" is probably the wittiest and most sarcastic song on the album, but its genuinely lovely piano-and-vocal arrangement gives the song a bigger emotional punch than one might expect from a song about devotion to '50s drive-in flicks.) Conrad Uno's production is much clearer, allowing most of leader Scott McCaughey's increasingly clever lyrics to be comprehended, even on rave-ups like the Electric Prunes-like "How Much About Last Night Do You Remember?." (A cover of the Sonics' wild "You've Got Your Head on Backwards" is a nice tip of the hat to their Pacific Northwest antecedents.) The best tracks are probably the slightly countrified "Searchin' USA" and the gawky adolescent anthem "Hang out Right," but all 13 tracks are good-to-great indie rock.

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