Music, Print, Reviews January 8, 2021

Album Review: Fresh Fruit! – Independently

by Valerie Vampola

The groovy, Denver-based soul band Fresh Fruit! released their first EP, Independently, on January 1st. Self-describing the record as “representing the best of the Denver music scene, years of excitement and frustration, fellowship, heartbreak, and invaluable experiences that we owe to the people around us,” Independently departs from Fresh Fruit!’s 70’s yacht rock vibe of yore and digs into an R&B pop aesthetic.

The opening track “Independently” hits the listener with an upbeat, modern disco sound that begs for dancing. Fresh Fruit!’s approach of using rhythmically busy electronic instruments will remind hip listeners of Chromeo, Maroon 5 and Jungle.

Fresh Fruit! is one of Colorado’s most polished, new, funk pop collectives. Photos by Tori Enyart

Their chill but still grooving songs introduce light sprinkles of Neo-soul influences too. Tracks like “Can’t Stop Now” showcase soulful back-up singers and an accompanying horn section, which results in a more traditional funk sound. The single “Fancy Limousine” digs into dirtier funk with a tight rhythm guitar and fatter horn riffs, contrasting the more produced, eponymous opener. 

The last couple of tunes, “Happiness” and “Yellow (Was Yesterday),” go back to the band’s new direction with a contemporary and commercial pop ballad sound. They emphasise and compliment lead vocalist Ronan Dowling’s melody by changing up their instrumentation. In “Happiness,” the background vocals take on a more orchestral role while occasionally doubling the lyrics throughout the song. The gospel-like ballad “Yellow (Was Yesterday)” features a powerful acoustic piano and a dirtier rock guitar.

Fresh Fruit! Five: Core members of the Denver outfits broader collective. Photo by Tori Enyart

While the chill yacht rock vibes of Fresh Fruit!’s past occasionally surface, Independently accentuates their soul sounds in a way that is groovy and more commercially appealing.

Independently by Denver’s funk pop supergroup Fresh Fruit! is out January 1, 2021. For more juice visit freshfruitjam.com