reviewed by Michael Thomas
Fresh Snow continue their love of homonyms but continue to prove that each of their releases reaches greater heights than its predecessor. First there was I, then there was Won, and now we’ve reached One. Previously, Won added some intrigue with powerful guest vocal spots from Carmen Elle and Damian Abraham, and while a few songs have vocals, most revel in the hypnotically powerful soundscapes Fresh Snow seem to effortlessly create.
There’s a more diverse set of influences in the music of One. You’ll still get some excellent krautrock here and there, like the absolutely killer “January Skies.” That song wastes no time in kicking ass with its buzzing guitars and blistering motorik beat, and it’s now just one facet of the many ways Fresh Snow continues to be the breath of fresh air post-rock really needs.
At one point it might have been hard to imagine a Fresh Snow album opening with a song like “Olinda,” which for a majority of its six-plus-minute runtime is just soaring, ambient synths and a repeated sample of a child’s voice. But not only does “Olinda” serve as a great bridge into the rest of the album, it also shows Fresh Snow isn’t afraid to throw in some other genres too.
“Three-Way Mirror” manages to combine so many things into a pristine four minutes. There’s the vocals in French; there’s the mystic imagery of the 5th dimension; there’s sombre piano that eventually gives way to perhaps the most electronic-focused song Fresh Snow has put out so far.
Oh yeah, and another thing Fresh Snow continues to rule at is naming songs. It’s hard to top Won‘s “Never Fuck a Gift Horse in the Mouth,” but we do have a song called “Anytime Minutes,” bringing to mind some of the most ancient cellphone plans imaginable. Appropriately, the song is dark and ominous, as cellphones were back then. There’s also “Eat Me in St. Louis,” which is actually a funereal piano-based song and not some kind of bombastic soundtrack to cannibalism.
Perhaps the best song name of the album is also one of the best songs on the album, full stop. “Mass Graves/Dance Caves” manages to not only kind of name-drop the shitty part of Toronto’s Lee Palace, but also provide a wonderfully groovy number. Much of it is instrumental and wouldn’t sound too out-of-place on a Pick a Piper record, but as vocals come in, it’s elevated to some kind of Britpop freak-out.
This is just half of the album’s wonders. From the storm-to-calm of “I Can’t Die” to the ever-morphing “Flat White,” there will be more twists and turns than you can imagine.
One will be released Sept. 9 on Hand Drawn Dracula.
Top Tracks: “Mass Graves/Dance Caves”; “Three-Way Mirror”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*