Cultured residents of San Francisco know a thing or two about waiting outside in lines, for things like 1920s German silent films and third wave coffee. Wrapped around the establishment’s exterior, patient patrons inevitably endure the wavering climate, which serves foggy, cold days one day and clear, gorgeous sunny days the next. On their bright new single Presence of Mind, SF group The Fresh & Onlys have successfully captured the latter in a psych-pop garage rock sort of way. This is a real San Francisco treat, and you don’t even have to wait in line to hear it.
The song shoots right out of the gate with a get up and go rhythm, immediately inviting the listener to sway to its motivated tempo. When lead singer Tim Cohen’s voice enters the mix, it recalls modern rock baritone crooners like Jens Lekman and Erlend Øye. Similar to his contemporaries, Cohen is more concerned with relaxed delivery than rigid timing. As a result, his existential lyrics float carefree over joyously fast paced guitar rhythms. His low, warm vocals are also the perfect balance to sprightly underscoring marimba run. With the scale-climbing electric guitar riff added to all of these charming components, you’ll wish you had (1) a surf board and (2) a day off by the time the song is over.
Embedded into the introspective ideals of Presence of Mind is one very prevalent theme of late: the shaky ascent into manhood (read: the Heavy’s “What Makes a Good Man,” or The Rapture’s “It Takes Time to Be a Man”).
“As a man with stars in his eyes,
What does he care if the future is bright?”
Cohen’s words questionably disregard the future, the unknown. Instead, our male ponderer resolves to find truth and peace of mind in his existent vision of the “absence of light.” Essentially, a lack of something is, well, something too. Inching this close to enlightenment never sounded so good.