Album Review: The Fruity Whites' Delicious BYO'Connor
The Fruity Whites - full of rising stars of the alt/pop/folk type - is a transient jangle band with members spread across the country. Fortunately for us, they’ve managed to get together for BYO’Connor - a collection of 10 tracks with lyrics that live up to the genius wordplay of its title.
These guys (Hugh Manning and Alex Griffin) write songs that are stories which roll around in your skin until you feel you've lived them too. And to be fair, most of us have lived the songs in this album.
Full of the kind of events that seem very important at the time, tracks like 'Old Friends' and 'Gym Set' and 'Ice Cream' give voice to the indecisive angst that take over the years post education and pre career. The lyrics are quirky and winsome rather than bitter, and 'Transit Fines' in particular is a sweet take on a love song that could only happen in Perth. On the other hand, the doleful repetitive refrain of 'King George Sound' will neatly break your heart in two in just under 3 minutes.
'Loomis St' is really the stand out track here. A multitude of voices - some coming in mid-line - show a growing confidence in harmonic complexity. It functions to centre the album emotionally as a collection of songs about a larger group of friends. The track reveals a growing rift, the cause of which is never quite explained, and each new voice that crowds in just adds to the intrigue. It ends with the question that sums up the feeling of impermanence which runs through the whole album – which of us is next to be replaced?
Singer-songwriter Alex Griffin has said that this may be the last Fruity Whites album, and maybe that’s ok. Some things – like the friendship groups of early adulthood – were never meant to last forever. The talent behind the band is undeniable, however, and we will definitely be hearing Alex, Hugh et al again in some kind of musical future reincarnation.
The album is tagged sad in Bandcamp, but I’m going to have to disagree. To listen to these songs and recognise your younger self is a powerful experience, and make this an album of bittersweet nostalgia and overwhelming optimism.