The harvest is bountiful on debut album from The A's Fruit. Part a capella vocal, park yodeling, part folk ballad, there is a refreshing quality of purity and play throughout this work of art. Released in 2022, Fruit gets better with every spin. The A’s are made up of Alexandra Sauser-Monnig of Daughter of Swords’ and Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso and their co-creation leaves me hungry for more!
Apparently I’m having a real obsession with duos this summer (check out my recent gushing on Decisive Pink). I revel in the sparseness of Fruit. Alexandra and Amelia have angelic voices that braid deft harmonies, and their yodeling cannot help but spark a smile. (Yes, yodeling is so weird if you are a modern person who doesn’t usually listen to folks yodel, but it is actually extremely cool and, I would imagine, quite difficult.) You can absolutely tell both parties had a blast making this album. And while The A’s are the heart of the music, Fruit features a host of guests you probably already adore such as Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak who add to the hugeness of the sound.
Speaking of which, this album is so brilliantly mixed. It’s warm and encompassingly big and really benefits from being played on vinyl. There is also some brilliant sound collaging going on here. In addition to guitar and voice, there’s the not-too-unusual occasional strings, a sax, but in addition, some really unique layers which evidently include Alexandra combing her hair and, somehow, shoelaces. Give it a close listen and see if you can spot these oddities!
If I had to give a “for fans of,” I’d say The A’s are an Appalachian Joanna Newsom, and fitting its antiqued, quaint, rural aesthetic, this album is a patchwork quilt with its varied songs. Most selections are traditionals, there’s a lullaby, one original (“When I Die”), and the opening track / lead single “He Needs Me” was absurdly written by Harry Nilsson for Shelley to sing in the 1980 Popeye film. (Both artists are real gems, though that type of film is decidedly not my thing.) The collection has wonderfully vast peaks and valleys; songs like “Swing and Turn Jubilee” and “Copper Kettle” evoke beautiful sadness and then there is possibly the most fun love-lost song ever, “Why I’m Grieving.” Many places throughout the album settle into a lovely mood of contentment like the cowpoke song “When The Bloom Is On The Sage.”
Fruit is the simplest, sweetest album I have heard in some time; I highly recommend taking a bite!