Young Fresh Fellows - I Think This Is
Recently we looked at Scott McCaughey's new album with alt-country Supergroup The Minus 5, today we look at his effort with his original band The Young Fresh Fellows.
I Think This Is represents the first album from Young Fresh Fellows since 2001. Robyn Hitchcock is in the producer's chair for this one, as the Seattle quartet enters its second quarter century producing music.
Just as The Minus 5 is McCaughey's chosen outlet for his country music endeavours, Young Fresh Fellows remains his chosen vehicle for smart, angular punk rock. You're never going to get the heavy hardcore punk from the band, what you will get are tracks like "Lamp Industries" and "Shake Your Magazines" which have a definite early '80s feel to them. More than that, as the Buzzcocks flare of "New Day I Hate" will attest, there is an overarching Anglo sound to the songs.
Added to the 3-chord punk are influences of '60s pop. On I Think This Is that manifests itself in the "Secret Agent Man" feel of "Let the Good Times Crawl", and "Suck Machine Crater" which wouldn't sound out of place at a dance party thrown by Austin Powers. There's even a little bit of California surf influence with the aeronautic anthem "Go Blue Angels Go".
One of the strength of McCaughey's writing, whether with the Fellows or The Minus 5, has been his sense of humour. That shines through on tracks like the "YOUR Mexican Restaurant" (which could be mistaken for Fountains Of Wayne) and "Ballad of the Bootleg" the tale of a recording session gone awry. Probably the best line from the album comes from "After Suicide" in the refrain 'I could never be your friend after suicide'. Hard to argue with that flow of logic.
Alas, many of the songs just can't hold the listener's interest either on a musical or lyrical level. "The Guilty Ones", "Never Turning Back Again", "Used To Think All Things Would Happen", and "If You Believe In Cleveland" are all forgettable.
I think I Think This Is is an uneven record that does have its shining moments.
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