Janky, folk-oriented street performers are a dime a dozen in most cities, but every so often you'll stumble across some diamond-in-the-rough, ragamuffin troupe singing songs that make you drop your grocery bags, forget about your pressing appointments and dance in the filthy streets. It might be a lack of pretension or the wonderful simplicity of their sound represented here, but somehow Fruition captures all of that earnest, vagabond luster in just over half an hour on their latest EP.
Fleet-fingered string picking, crafty songwriting and harmonies smoother than the autumn wind blowing through a field of wheatgrass make every song on this album hard to forget. The tracks alternate between lilting ballads and saucy juke-joint dance numbers, but regardless of the tempo it's hard to shake the smile that accompanies listening to this mostly upbeat affair. While over half of the Portland quintet brings strong lead vocals to the table, mandolin player Mimi Naja particularly shines on this release, her voice robust yet vulnerable on songs like the opening tune "Turn Your Love." This is the perfect score for lazy-day summer romances or cool evening countryside hoedowns, and like such events, the only drawback is its bittersweet brevity.
Fruition plays the Top Hat Thu., Aug. 30, at 10 PM with Gwyneth and Monko. $5.