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Album Review: Fresh by Fresh

London punks Fresh release their new self-titled album on 18th August via Special Subject Records. Since forming in 2015 Fresh quickly released a couple of home recorded EPs, mixing lo-fi acoustic songs and noisy, urgent pop punk with tracks that rarely pass the two-minute mark. With their debut album, the band hone this formula even more. Written over the past two years this is 11 tracks of genuine teenage angst – trying to pass exams, dealing with depression, confusion about your sexuality and identity, and attending bible camp as an angry young atheist.

Taking a slightly less lo-fi approach, the new full length was swiftly recorded over 3 days at The Ranch in Southampton (which has seen records made by likes of Creeper, Muncie Girls and Gnarwolves in recent years), clearly capturing the charm and urgency of the band.

Decidedly pop punk but with the charm of indie rock you’ll find fresh to be a breath of fresh air. Instead of the male orientated teenage tales pedalled by the majority of UK pop punk bands, you’ve got angsty tales of a 20 something from Kathryn Woods. They’ve found the perfect home in Specialist Subject Records, it’s a record label that knows their niche and Fresh fit in perfectly. Imagine a younger more innocent version of Great Cynics and you’d be on the right track.

While the album revels in its light punk it’s duration of just over 20 minutes is a little concerning. It’s hard to get into a track simply due to fact that they don’t hang around for long enough. Unsurprisingly it’s the longer tracks like ‘I’ll Be Back’, ‘Fuck My Life’ and ‘Lead Ashtray’ that standout. They sow a seed and develop enough to engrain themselves into your subconscious and become firm favourites. Album closer ‘No Big Deal’ is a delightfully bright track tempered by the rather bleak lyrics. It sums up the general feel of the album – placing the conflicting bright and airy punk of the music alongside the angsty and often bleak lyrics – for the most part it works well.

Unfortunately, you can’t help but feel a little disappointed. There’s some cracking tracks like ‘Get Bent’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ that have the potential to showcase Fresh as a vital addition to the UK punk scene yet they’re seemingly over before they really kick off. You get the feeling that the urgent energy of the tracks could have been strung out a little and developed into something special.

That said it’s still a very enjoyable album. It’s not going to take up much of your time, stick it on and enjoy.

AD Rating 6.75/10

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