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Reviewer cites “Fresh” as the power Pop moment…

Lew Bundles

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How ‘Fresh’ Crowned the Raspberries as Power Pop’s Forefathers

 Beverly Paterson

3 weeks ago

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Established 1970 in Cleveland, the Raspberries were on a mission to consolidate pure-pop perceptions with a hard-rock bent. Artistically and commercially, the goal was achieved.

The band spawned four studio albums and several singles between 1972 and 1974, and there’s little argument that this entire body of work is indispensable. Still, Fresh seems to be the platter I return to again and again. 


By the time Eric Carmen and the Raspberries’ second full-length effort arrived on Nov. 13, 1972, stardom had been met: “Go All The Way,” a track featured on their self-titled debut disc, cracked the top 5 in the summer of 1972, making the Raspberries one of the most promising new acts of the year.

The ability to write immediately impressive songs, supported by tight and energetic playing are elements responsible for making any band tick, and the Raspberries possessed such assets in spades. Picking up right where Raspberriesleft off, Fresh proceeded to promote the band’s mojo for balancing radio-friendly pop expeditions with muscle-matted rock reflexes. Influenced just as much by Humble Pie, Free and the Who as they were the Beach Boys, the Beatles and the Byrds, the group boasted something of a dual personality.

Hit singles from Fresh came in the form of the bold and bouncy “I Wanna Be With You” and the lush harmony luster of “Let’s Pretend.” Consumed by bracing hooks and breaks, soaked in a compatible mix of jangling and crunching guitars, these tunes not only thoroughly capture the yearnings and desires of adolescent love and longing, but the essence of real-deal power pop, a genre for which the Raspberries served as forefathers.

Bleached with the brassy blare of a trumpet, the sunny “I Reach for the Light” sparkles with coiling rhythms, the zesty “Drivin’ Around” slaps a modern wrinkle on the hot rod stylings of yore, the ultra-catchy “Nobody Knows” brims with bare and honest emotions. “If You Change Your Mind” is also scripted of the Raspberries’ characteristic forte for doling out lip-smacking melodies, ravishing choruses, and exciting instrumentation. 

Alive with color, tone, aesthetics and arrangements integrating smart and sophisticated with basic and accessible Fresh is absolutely flawless. Here’s an album that sounds as fresh (please forgive me for the pun but I couldn’t resist) today as it did back then. Pop rock rarely gets better than the stuff this disc offers.


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