Young Fresh Fellows – This One’s for the Ladies

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

This was a band I had read about in magazines but had no direct knowledge of. At the time I got this, I was familiar with guitarist Kurt Bloch’s Fastbacks, and I am almost certain I had not yet come to appreciate leader Scott McCaughey. I could be wrong about McCaughey. Anyway, I fell for the lighthearted charms of this unpretentious band, who I tend to prefer to McCaughey’s more serious and less stable Minus 5. Also personally rewarding for me is music from Seattle that isn’t grunge, because fuck that.

What I Think of This Album

Sometimes I listen to the music I own and I wonder, “Why don’t more people like this? Does it need to be more melodic? Are there not enough harmonies?” and then the next track comes on and I’m like, “Oh, yeah . . . this is weird.” That’s sort of sums up this album. Certain songs seem like they belonged on at least college/alternative radio, and some are definitely just there because the band thought they were funny.

This is the album where Kurt Bloch fully took over lead guitar duties (not that you can tell from the liner notes, which credit every band member with “lead guitar” and nothing else), and he contributed a few songs; McCaughey wrote the majority of the tunes, with a couple of covers thrown in. These two seem like a natural pair, given their personalities and the music they make in their other bands, and it’s clear that they have influenced each other.

For as much as Bloch throws his guitar leads (most, very cool) all over the place, his odd, stomping “The Family Gun” has a decidedly bucolic feel, sounding almost like his partner’s contributions, whereas McCaughey’s “Wishing Ring” sounds like a song Bloch would’ve come up with (whose “Still There’s Hope” and “Lost Track of Time” sound very much like Fastbacks songs).

Otherwise, McCaughey delivers the melodies in “Carrot Head,” “The Middle Man of Time,” “New Old Song,” “Miss Lonely Hearts,” and “Deep, Down and Inbetween.” The band devotes a few minutes to goofing around on the silly title track and the organ-driven, near-instrumental “Taco Wagon” (lyrics:  “taco wagon”), written with former band member Chuck Carroll.

Beyond this, the cover of the Kinks’ “Picture Book” is loving and energetic. The cover of Billy Childish’s “One Day You Die” sounds great, a welcome improvement on the original. This is a fun, energetic album that serves as a pretty good introduction to the band.

Side notes: Jon Auer of the Posies was an additional engineer on this, and Slim Dunlap (the Replacements) played guitar on one track. Also, Burns Stanfield from Scruffy the Cat played the organ and piano on a few songs. And Christy McWilson, who has recorded with Dave Alvin (the Blasters, X), Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Syd Straw (the Golden Palominos), and Rhett Miller (the Old 97s), and who was also married to McCaughey, contributed vocals.

The Best Thing About This Album

The lead guitar on “Lost Track of Time” is a hidden gem.

Release Date

1989

The Cover Art

Goofy and weird. I basically like it. What I like best is that instead of finding a white bedsheet, they just turned a striped one over, and you can still see the stripes. Why are they wearing graduation (or church?) robes? Why three typewriters? What is making that shadow in the bottom right?

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