Fake Fruit, the self-titled debut release by the Vancouver-formed, Bay Area-polished band, is exactly what Rocks in Your head label boss Sonny Smith had in mind for his “fringe-loving roots” punk vision of a San Francisco imprint.
The band is fronted by the suffer-no-fools Hannah D’Amato with guitarist Alex Post and drummer Miles MacDiamond. (Bass players in this band get misplaced like burner cell phones.) Fake Fruit can be felt in the throes of a jangly art-rock Television-esque long narrative, or a quick-cutting Wire, Pylon, or Minutemen friction haze. It really does not matter.
Even if Fake Fruit’s vibe shifts, it’s always Hannah D’Amato’s show. Whispering, questioning, shouting, blowing off steam with that sublime post-punk timing, with shouts and shrills worthy of being converted to paragraphs of disillusionment by author Paul Beatty. Her words carry over broken dick chords and kvetching double-time riffs.
At full tilt descriptive power, the group’s new album conveys a dart sharp laundry list of failures, compacted into 11 songs over 30 minutes. Wound up tightly into post-punk joints that clock in at mostly under four minutes, Hannah talk-sings from a bemused “do you believe the onions on this motherfucker” viewpoint. The entire record seems to be one elongated response to some type of idiot, and Hannah is just not having them today.
In true punk rock tradition, Fake Fruit can get their point across in 61 seconds, as evidenced by the quick, sharp “Old Skin.” In the cutting “Yolk,” D’Amato will undress a situation—in this case, her dude’s fragile ego—without a soft landing. Clock the personal math of “I’m with my honey/ He says I’m funny/ I had a bad day/ His yolk is runny.” The more matter-of-fact “Lying Legal Horror Lawyers” gives eviscerating guitars and jutting tempo. D’Amato flashes ironic humor with the lyric “men’s rights/ their plight,” then whispers in the hush after that people should “keep the mother in mind.”
The songs, according to D’Amato, were written and influenced by several of her breakups, mostly in Vancouver. Jangly pop with hook, line, and sinker indie-rock get-ups, they refuse simple convention. When we finally get into that nasty, Talking Heads-type break in “Miscommunication,” all bets are off.
Fake Fruit could have put up a more dancey vibe, but it’s the fire-breathing D’Amato we want to speak freely. She’s our color commentator, full of dark wit and funny lyrics borne out of frustration, that leave no room for plastic bibs and saccharine smiles. She never sounded angry, just over it.
Cop Fake Fruit’s self-titled debut album on Bandcamp.