While there may be 55 Canadian-English variations on the word snow, here are 639 words to describe Fresh Snow’s new album ONE as fucking terrific.
Readers, I hear you…
“We don’t need another Mogwai-style quiet-loud post-rock album full of sonically assaulting crescendos and contemplative twinkly bits – we have Mogwai. And also Holy Fuck, And Godspeed. And probably 65daysofstatic… why don’t you tell us about the new Bastille album instead?”
But to you I offer the following points… Number one: why would you NOT want another album that sounds like the above? Number two: Fresh Snow are excellent. Number three: a Godspeed AND Bastille fan? What a tremendously rare individual you are! Don’t ever come back here again, you’ll only be disappointed.
Let’s discuss point number two first, because that’s the sort of messed-up logic we like here…
Fresh Snow are excellent. They’re a four-piece born in a dive-bar in Toronto, drawn together through a mutual love of drone, noise, kraut-rock and straight-up pop.
Their first album, 2013’s I, is a phenomenally intense and exhilarating experience, rightfully listed for the Polaris prize. Fresh Snow’s last EP Won, featuring Fucked Up‘s Damian Abraham and Carmen Elle of Diana, was equally triumphant but a little more groovy.
Let’s see, what else?
They have cracking song-titles like ‘Don’t Fuck a Gifthorse in the Mouth’ and ‘Your Thirst For Magic Has Been Quenched By Death!’ And they’re probably nice to their mums. I have no evidence for that. Just a hunch. Oh, and Fresh Snow’s new album, ONE, is completely ace.
Which brings us to point number one and why you need another groovy psych post-rock album in your life…
Oh my goodness, where to begin? For a start, you won’t get bored listening to ONE. It’s an incredibly wide-ranging beast, with each track mastering a different form, texture or genre while still keeping a core focus. It’s not some polymorphic mass of undulating rhythms (I don’t know, I lost myself there too), yes it’s experimental – but the experimentation is within the band itself. Fresh Snow are flexing and stretching their talents into all kinds of new territories, while staying true to the principle that everything should be defined by a killer melody or satisfying hook.
ONE moves confidently from the glowering intensity of opening slow-burner ‘Olinda’ to the brutal menace of ‘January Skies’ without losing its lightness of touch. Guitars thrill, drums pound, the production shimmers – it’s a deeply satisfying and earnest double-punch that leads into the gorgeously groovy ‘Mass Graves/Dance Caves’. A track that doesn’t just share similar vocals with Underworld but also the laid-back danceability of the UK legend’s more expansive work.
‘I Can’t Die’ segues from bruising guitars to some lovely Clinic-style organ work before scrubbing itself clean for the terribly lovely ‘Three-Way Mirror’. A track that I’ve been playing on repeat for the last couple of weeks – maybe it’s the beautiful French vocals, maybe it’s the subtle kind of euphoria it generates, maybe it’s the mixture of oh-so-delicate keys with 8-bit squeaks of synth – whatever, I am totally in love with it.
The album ends with the haunting ‘I am Smitten With Your Wrath’ – which is jam-packed full of wonderful noises – then there’s the Tim Hecker-style exercise in stillness and atmosphere ‘Anytime Minutes’, before finishing with ‘Flat White’. An uplifting 8 minute instrumental that brings everything from ONE together in a glorious, thoroughly earned, crescendo.
And there you have it. If I’ve done my job properly you’d have left this review half-way through and discovered Fresh Snow for yourself and already be listening to the album on repeat while staring into the horizon and feeling fucking awesome.
If I haven’t done my job properly, then you’ll now get to enjoy me using this time to think of a few more synonyms for ‘intense’… Let’s see… ‘fierce’, that’s a good one. ‘Potent’. ‘Vigorous’. ‘Strenuous’. They’re good too. Damn, I should’ve used some of these earlier in the review. ‘Mettlesome’… yeah, I’ll definitely save that one for sure… 4/5
Fresh Snow’s ONE is out 9th September and you can pre-order via Hand Drawn Dracula.