Hand Drawn Dracula
Fresh Snow released their second album, One, September 9, 2016. This Toronto-based instrumental post-rock/Krautrock foursome is comprised of Brad Davis, Andy J. Lloyd, Jon Maki, and Tim Condon (who hails originally from Australia). Following after their first album, “I” (as in the Roman Numeral “1”) Fresh Snow’s One album follows the band’s September 2015 EP Won. The album is solid. It features a nice cohesive musicianship with recurring bass heavy ostinatos. Dreamy chimes and lighter, melancholic piano melodies carry the listener up past the dense bass guitar drones, creating the aural sensation of floating among the clouds, above the drudgery of life’s daily grind (think grey Seattle or Toronto’s blah November) before pushing down again into a heavier tracks. Following the post-rock aesthetic, One starts out fast and furious with two back-to-back instrumentals before we hear Brad Davis’s male vox on the third, slower track, “Mass Graves, Dance Caves.” The album then slows down completely with a melancholic, 2-minute long piano instrumental called “Eat Me In St. Louis.” Modern day production allowed Condon to play with noise squiggle through filters and processing, before chimes open into a Fugazi-esque instrumental ostinato, “I Can’t Die,” complete with squealing guitar slides reminiscent of a powersaw. Things lighten up again with the upbeat “Three-Way Mirror,” which features French and English female vox by Mila Petkovic from Toronto. The track builds with a lush orchestral string arrangement juxtaposed over a slow, thumping bass groove before moving into a mix of vox and looped samples. The album then slows down a final time with “I am Smitten With Your Wrath,” where slower piano, reminiscent of “Eat Me in St. Louis,” returns. String samples float over Fresh Snow’s signature bass and drum ostinato. “Anytime Minutes” maintains the dreamy, bittersweet piano and string motif before One concludes on “Flat White,” a decidedly more upbeat 4/4 rhythmic ditty that plunges into heavy bass and guitar interludes. “Flat White” is a summation of the entire album in one song.
One steadily moves through fast and slow-tempo instrumental numbers, akin to a sine wave before concluding on an upbeat, hopeful and triumphant anthem that sums up the album. If you enjoy mellow groove with heavy pedaled guitar and brief piano motifs, One is highly recommended. CLICK HERE for my interview with Tim Condon, Fresh Snow’s producer, to learn about the vision behind their improvised instrumental music.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: FRESH SNOW – ONE