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Wednesday, September 11

Album Review: Fruition - Just One Of Them Nights - 2013


Fruition
Just One Of Them Nights
2013


Fruition is a band on the move. Since 2008, they have worked fastidiously to create a devoted fanbase, playing high-energy shows in any room that will host them and often following those shows up with equally exuberant after-party jams. Five years later, the group's name can be found on lineups for some of the biggest festivals in the nation, stretching further and further away from their Portland home base to bring their extensive repertoire to new ears. Their fourth album, the kickstarter-funded Just One of Them Nights, is guaranteed to make a lasting impression on anyone who listens.

“Americana” is a broad enough brushstroke that it applies to Fruition's sound, but it doesn't quite do justice. There is more soul in these compositions than that tag would imply, and plenty of rock 'n' roll hiding in the shadows. Whichever direction the group veers from song to song though, each is approached and executed with an impressive display of competence. It's rare to get such a package deal in one band; whereas most groups excel at particular facets of musicianship and play to those strengths, Fruition's chops, songwriting and Beatlesque harmonies all soar on this album. Mandolin player Mimi Naja and lead guitarist Jay Cobb Anderson trade solos with conversational ease, and rhythm guitarist Kellen Asebroek slides subtle, haunting piano breaks into a few of the downtempo numbers while bassist Keith Simon and drummer Tyler Thompson hold down a bold, unwavering pocket. Naja, Anderson and Asebroek swap songwriting and lead vocal duties (Asebroek in particular brings a distinct sense of melody to his compositions that bring a couple of his offerings to heightened levels), creating a full sonic palette, from the burning “Blue Light” and the folky “Mountain Annie” the lilting closing ballad “Gotta Get Back Home.”

Old lovers and the open road haunt most of these tracks, and the words are chosen wisely and cleverly. Anderson's lyrics on the title track are easy to relate to, and when Naja sings “I'm in it for the fishing, I'm not in it for the catch” on “The Wanter” you can't help but cheer her reckless romancing on. Voices blend together like the best late-night mixed drink, and even the cheesy hometown tribute “Portland Bound” is too damn fun to resist. This album should come with a warning label: “Use caution when inserting this disc into your stereo, because you may never take it out.”  
Words: Jed Nussbaum

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