Exotic Fruit Tour – Exotic Fruit Tour

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John McCain of Amplified SD looks at Exotic Fruit Tour, the debut album from the San Diego psychedelic funk rock act with the same name. This album is as intricate as it is cohesive. The theatrical elements add a flair of showmanship that has always been synonymous with the words “Exotic Fruit Tour.” The lyrics touch on current world events and circumstances and dive deep into personal emotional discourse.

Written By John McCain for Amplified SD, read HERE

As a group consisting of four of San Diego’s most adept instrumentalists and songwriters, it was only fitting that my recent virtual sit down with psychedelic-funk faction Exotic Fruit Tour started off with enthusiastic discourse over the intricacies behind bass building and the extent to which certain materials affect the overall string tension of the instrument between guitarist Luke Glass and bassist Asher Rowland. Joined alongside vocalist Jackson Shaffer and drummer/vocalist Paul Rosette, these four funk-eteers and I dove deep into their newest release, their self-titled album “Exotic Fruit Tour.”

The 12-track project consists of instant campy classics like “Nonexistent Rep,” “Northeast of the Southwest Border,” and “Broke as Hell,” which transport you into the cushiest balcony seats of the E.F.T. funk opera, as well as earnest, psychedelia infused ballads such as “Canopy,” “Jungle of Deschutes,” and “Son Left Bewildered.” Don’t blink! Because you might miss thematic elements of environmental catastrophe, economic melancholy, emotional strife, and… time travel? These four fruit ninjas are masters of their own crafts individually but put them together, and you have something unlike anything else you’ve ever heard.

With large portions of the album being recorded as live takes of guitar, bass, and drums playing alongside each other, E.F.T. did a great job capturing an authentic, organic sound on the record. As Luke said, “The way we write these songs, sometimes they’re just easier to play together.”

The album was truly a collaborative effort between the guys, making it sound cohesive and united. Luke continued, “We all worked together on these songs. It was never like, ‘This is my song, and this is how we’re gonna do it, and that’s it.’ The magic was actually working on these songs together before we were ready to do them.”

On the topic of collaboration, Jackson chimed in, saying, “All the songs on the album were written by Exotic Fruit Tour. It’s as simple as that. We all brought something to each song, no matter what it was.”

It wouldn’t be Exotic Fruit Tour without some head-scratching time signatures that never fail to create fun mental and physical gymnastics for all E.F.T. listeners and showgoers. “I love watching people try to dance at our shows,” Luke added, “because then they start feeling the pulse and then they get it.”

Not only are these funky rhythms fun to dance to, but they also provide the perfect canvas for drummer Paul Rosette and bassist Asher Rowland to varnish with their rhythmic absurdity. When talking about their track “Canopy,” Paul stated, “A lot of times when you’re playing an odd time signature pattern, you really want to outline and hit that ‘1’ so everybody knows where it is…but I wanted to do something that kinda went over the bar line a little bit.”

Paul and Asher’s crazy rhythmic attack on “Canopy” is truly berserk. But when you add Jackson’s floating, stretched-out vocal melody and lyrics, the rhythm takes on a much more familiar feeling, allowing the listener to take an introspective look at past lives and love lost before giving way to Luke’s chilling guitar solo.

This album is as intricate as it is cohesive. The theatrical elements add a flair of showmanship that has always been synonymous with the words “Exotic Fruit Tour.” The lyrics touch on current world events and circumstances and dive deep into personal emotional discourse. Each band member speaks their own voice on this album through what is quite frankly ridiculous musicianship. San Diego is fortunate to boast such a group of funk-stronauts, but don’t take my word for it, go listen for yourself. Like seriously, why are you still reading this? Go listen to Exotic Fruit Tour already!




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