Fruition’s New Album Is A True ‘Labor Of Love’ [A Review]

first_imgPortland, Oregon’s own Americana band Fruition have lived up to their name with their latest release, Labor Of Love. From their days busking in the streets for spare change to the stages of Bonnaroo, the band has made a steady climb towards this new level through a mixture of hard work, talent, and a seemingly unwavering commitment to improve themselves as a band.The three singer/songwriters that make up the creative core of Fruition, Jay Cobb Anderson, Kellen Asebroek, and Mimi Naja all share the same general musical aesthetic of string music done soulfully. Having multiple songwriting perspectives can be a blessing and a curse for a band. If the thoughts and sounds put forth don’t mesh, the music runs the risk of not fully engaging the listener. That said, like the legendary group The Band, Fruition’s parts are all working together to keep the music going in the same direction.Now, releasing an album of impressive original material that culminates all their efforts and creates a collection of songs that provide a snapshot into the bands minds and hearts. The album leads off with the title track, “Labor Of Love,” which shows the effortless nature of the band’s musical blending. Mixing rougher sounds like distorted guitars and mandolins at the same time as the three vocalist partake in a old school “Call-And-Response” that shows an absolute comfort that enables the band to focus their energy fully on the job at hand. Though their skill sets my differ, they are completely in harmony with each other..Check out the first video from the album, “Labor Of Love”, below.The next track gives Mimi Naja a chance to shine in a bluesy, almost gospel like spiritual direction; a wistful ode to a too-far-away love, and a promise to move to the mythical city of “Santa Fe.” Naja’s voice is as powerful as any of the modern blues ladies, and she exudes a startling mix of confidence in her skill and vulnerability in her lyrics that grabs the very hearts of listeners and never lets go. Asebroek contributes some divine organ to that track, and drops his first contribution to the proceedings on the next track, “The Meaning.” His more lilting tones and the three part harmonies make a bit of musical alchemy, making the resultant blend truly golden.The rhythm section of Jeff Leonard on bass and Tyler Thompson on drums have a difficult job backing these accomplished writers, and their various takes on the material. Though they are called upon to keep the momentum going in times of near silence and absolute abandon they manage both points of the spectrum and all those in between in a way that many bands could learn from. The lack of musical ego in these songs is refreshing.  Everyone in Fruition seems to be far more concerned with the songs integrity above and beyond all else, and the result, especially on tracks like “Falling On My Face” and “Beside You.”As the album winds to a close ,a bit of darkness creeps in around the edges within the psychedelic tune “Early Morning Wake Up,” which seems to capture the spirit of some of the denser oddities of the sixties while still remaining contemporary and easily related. Their string band roots show through in the short, succinct “Death Comes Knockin,” a defiant, grinding bluegrass number that could have easily be written a hundred years ago, but again seems as timely and as present as anything on the album. To finish out the album, the band delivers a blast of pure intentions through Naja’s fierce howl, as she cries out what might actually serve as a mission statement for these five talented friends. She sings of their drive to always move forward, no matter the cost. She sings of the possibility that she, and the rest, are losing ground, when that is clearly not the case.Labor Of Love is a startling complete record, sure of itself and what it’s trying to say. Fruition have reached a new level with this album, but if their past is anything to judge them by, there is much to look forward to from Fruition. But until then, they’ve given the world a wonderful example of what dedication and soul can accomplish when people work together.last_img read more