Student spotlight: Fresh Fruit!

Sweeten up the new year

Photo courtesy of Fresh Fruit!
Some fresh vibes from this funky group of CU Denver students.

In a fresh bite of the new year, Fresh Fruit! introduced their newest EP, Independently, on Jan. 1, 2021. The band has three core members, Mitchell Gardner, who plays guitar and mixes the music, Ronan Dowling, the lead singer and keyboardist, and Kyle Loeffler, the bass player. 

The band was born in 2018 after all three members met through the CU Denver dorms, where the music began to flow from jam sessions and connections over various types of soul music. Their first show together resulted from the singer-songwriter ensemble, where Dowling found he was in need of a band. A memory he finished explaining with a grin, “Since then we were like well this is kind of dope, we all kind of vibe together really well.” 

Entering their 20s, the band had, as their website vividly describes, “experienced enough transformative life experience bullshit” that they decided to scrap their first EP attempt and try for round two, shaping the framework for Independently (which took a very different path than previously imagined). The album moves through experiences and growth, as Loeffler voiced, “the new EP has more of a sort of reflective look on life, like, life kind of sucks sometimes but we can get through it.” 

With only five songs, the EP seems short to the eye, but each song pieces together its own portion of the album, vibrant in funk, and flourishing with both promise and technique. The EP not only steps up in terms of meaning, but expands in every level of production and quality, Loeffler detailed, “[We] really added a whole new dynamic to our music that we really didn’t have before… the goal was to really release something that upped our quality, came off very professional, and was expressing what we felt like we needed to say at the time.” 

“Fancy Limousine” lands as a clear hit off the EP. Deep bass dives right into the track, soon joined by an essential set of guitar riffs and Dowling’s trailing vocals, “Let’s go for a ride / Let’s go for a ride / Inside my / Fancy Limousine.” The single features a multitude of instruments and voices that become more tantalizing throughout, the melodies intertwining to reach euphoria, “Treat me like a queen / Treat me like a queen / Inside your / Fancy Limousine.” 

“Yellow” takes a slower approach on the album, radiating a very Paul McCartney-like vibe. Leading in with audio of the group, the song swiftly moves into a piano montage later paralleled by more brassy instrumentals as Dowling’s lyrics lament, “There’s so many things I wish I didn’t do / wish I didn’t say / Yellow was yesterday.” 

Independently certainly illustrates its name throughout the songs on the EP, driving itself in its own Fancy Limousine. As Gardner divulged, “I think none of us are perfectly satisfied with the EP, but I think that’s just because we’re never gonna be satisfied; we’re just constantly moving and getting new ideas for the next stuff.” 

The EP certainly amounts hope for a full album release, however thankfully for listeners, the group is set to perform Independently live at the Oriental Theater on Feb. 27. The album and previous songs are available on most streaming services and check out their website for merch, updates, and social media. 

Careful world, Fresh Fruit! has never been more appealing.

This is a selection from the Feb. 3 issue. To view the full issue, visit:

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