[Album Review] Painted Fruits- Fruit Salad
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)



Release Date: May 30th, 2015
Label:  Independent


Painted Fruits take confident strides forward following their impressive 2014 debut. Their songwriting shows more confidence and maturity, and the overall production is certainly more slick. However, despite the professional-sounding polish the boys retain their playfulness. More importantly, they still have a garage rock vibe – that basic guitar/drums/bass grind which puts a glint of steel in their airy pop music.

Although there is a satisfying amount of diversity on ‘Fruit Salad’ – some mathy passages, a glittery ditty, surfy garage pop, and good doses of weirdness – there is definitely a unifying feel to the whole thing — a carefree and fanciful air. This is contemporary art pop that borrows liberally from British rock traditions such as ’60s pop and ’70s glam.

Lead singer, Noah Varley, has a fey quality to his voice that suits the music to a tee. He also has an uncanny ability to glide up to the falsetto and back again with seemingly no effort. He puts this to good use on songs like the gentle charmer “Gender” where his voice floats high above the guitars for a while before taking a nosedive right into the midst of them. Or on “We Can Show You How” where he provides George Harrison-type vocal highlights to the Beatlesque tune.

The album’s real standout track is “Cheap Motel”. It’s a whimsical number but it has impressive bones. The musical accompaniment steadily grows, and the song’s bridge is like an unexpected turn out of nowhere. A fine example of songwriting.

As poised and solid as ‘Fruit Salad’ is, you can’t help but feel that the Painted Fruits sound is not fully formed. Not quite yet. At times the band sounds tentative and their ideas a little half-baked. They never really do take chances or make a bold statement. This is fine album in and of itself, but it also contains hints of the potential to create something even greater.