New Release Friday: Black Grapefruit – Fade/Forget

Posted by Greg on Jun 28, 2019 in Movies |

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Quite simply, we’re agog over Fade/Forget, the new album from Portland duo Black Grapefruit. A stirring amalgam of R&B, pop and alternative music, the duo possess the kind of sonic gravity that makes one stop and wonder: so this is what perfection sounds like? Vocalist Randa Smith and multi-instrumentalist Brian Dekker are equal parts dynamic, engaging and downright irresistible.

The album opens with “Fade,” a 30-second swim through ambience, improvisation and just general weirdness. While it makes for a bit of an awkward hello, it’s probably the easiest way to describe Black Grapefruit in just 30 seconds.

Fade/Forget really gets rolling on the Afro-pop tinged banger “Forget,” a rumbling exploration through lost love that evokes shades of Broken Bells and even a little bit of Peter Gabriel. The album surges forward on the urgent “Quartz,” a nocturnal and decidedly urban slice of radio-ready pop that lingers long after the final second. What follows is arguably the band’s apex moment. “Crypt Keeper” features confident vocals from Smith, a hypnotic and woozy beat, and verses that dance over waves of atmospheric synths. Laden with a bevy of hooks and a pop sheen that points to a titanic future, this is the sound of a band fully coming into their own. The celestial ambience that made a brief appearance on “Fade” returns in full effect on the 60-second “Gospels.” But for as provoking as the ambience is, the takeaway is when Randa Smith asks: “How many people have fallen out of love with you?”

Dekker takes to the microphone on the haunting “0122″ before yielding to Smith just before the minute mark. Dekker returns to croon the chorus and the following verses. The constant interplay between the two helps make this instant ear-worm a definite summer playlist staple. Teeming with polish, swagger and some of the most infectious hooks and beats you’re likely to hear all year, “0122″ is another surging step forward from a band that so far has yet to make few, if any, mistakes.

Fade/Forget concludes with “In Case You’re Listening,” meandering and melancholic spoken word effort featuring Dekker pining the complexities of romance against stark piano and whirring white noise. Towards the song’s conclusion, the music rises and the entire construction feels massive, major and most definitely arena-ready.

Make no mistake about it, Black Grapefruit has everything that the current zeitgeist of music wants from their artists. The beats are pronounced, the music is synthetic, the vocals are confident, urgent and emphatic. This is not mailed-in, run-of-the-mill pop. Black Grapefruit is bold, authentic, authoritative and ridiculously melodic. Heck, they probably should be headlining Coachella by 2021.

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