To start out, The Fresh & Onlys have always blended just the right amount of alternative and soft-electro to be well received. They stood out though, among a peer group of bands like Silversun Pickups, Minus The Bear, and British Sea Power for their emotional composition.
On, Wolf Lie Down, they seem to go for something bolder than well received, and it may cost them. The band is still tight, but there is a loudness, starting with the title track, and an undeniable angst that seeps through. “Impossible Man” is no different, and it is just a little bit too much to handle. “Qualm of Innocence” even wails a little. Things get better with “One of a Kind” which is a little brighter and does well with this, and “Walking Blues” is even more complex than usual and is really a solid track. There is something very Pixies here, a tightness, which is also ‘blues-ey.’
“Dancing Chair” also achieves something nice and complex, and is kind of anthemic. Now, that is what one expects from The Fresh and Onlys. Further, “Becomings” even makes the noise thing work as a movie-like dark instrumental. “Black Widow” closes the release with some more relaxingly dark poise.
At only eight tracks and all this overdone loudness, this sounds somewhat disparaging, but The Fresh & Onlys have always had something like this, but been well composed enough to make it work. Wolf Lie Down just makes it work in some places and kind of implodes in others, but the Fresh and Onlys are still tight.