Fruit Juice's Psych-Pop is a breath of fresh air

Your tripping partner

By Rev. Adam McKinney on June 25, 2014

When I was 16, I was hanging out in my friend's apartment, smoking pot with a group of people. She was dating a pot-dealer, at the time, so this wasn't an entirely uncommon situation. The lights were off, and we were listening to music. Someone turned on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," and I joked about how this was totally gonna blow our minds, man. And you know what? IT FUCKING DID.

My weed tenure wouldn't last much longer than that (I can be paranoid and puke and stuff and it's really none of your business), but I very much remember the feeling of being affected by a piece of psychedelic music. What I derided as a bit of Baby Boomer spaciness was then solidified in my mind as a perfectly valid bit of artistic influence. Nowadays, psychedelic music is filtered through a whiskey-soaked brain, so any attempts at actual brain-melting are fleetingly rare.

As such, I tend to find myself more involved with bands that skate through '60s influences on their way to pop serenity. When I'm not filling my head with big-sounding post-punk nonsense, I generally find time for bands like Foxygen, which strangle-holds '60s pastiche in a way that's both reverent and utterly punk rock. Fruit Juice is a band that does a similar motion.

Writing about new bands is always something of a tender act. No one wants or needs exposure when they're just figuring things out. Still, even though Fruit Juice has only existed for a little over a year, they've garnered a significant amount of praise, including being voted Best New Band in Olympia by the readers of this very rag. Even though it seems like it wouldn't be the case, Fruit Juice's brand of silly, stoned psych-pop is a breath of fresh air in the South Sound. I spoke with lead singer Jake McCaffray while they were on the road through the west coast.

"I was always drawn to '60s pop music," says McCaffray. "I definitely preferred pop music that tended toward psychedelic. ... I've always enjoyed performing, and my idols have always had an aspect of putting on a show. I don't entirely feel like I have an idea of a persona. It's more like an extreme aspect of who I am."

More than just bringing out the gentle psychedelia of the '60s, Fruit Juice effortlessly evoke a kind of glammy vibe that elevates them into the realm of Of Montreal. On their recent Swoon Records release, they cover a wide variety of '60s psych-adjacent styles, bringing in the provincial folk of the Kinks, the space-funk of David Bowie, and the button-pushing experimentation of John Lennon. All along, there's a remarkably steady hand at work, especially for a band that played its first show in April of last year.

Personally, I'd never like to trip to anything heavier than Fruit Juice. Any time a dreaded dude comes up to me and offers to guide me through my journey with Led Zeppelin or Tool or Sublime or King Crimson or Meshuggah or anything else that might make me contemplate death or even how my heart beats and how it is I continue to breathe without thinking about it - that shit is over, now. Fruit Juice is your ideal tripping partner, capable of ushering you through these big questions without letting you flip out.

"Why do I keep breathing?" you'd ask.

"Because Starbursts still exist! Check out how awesome they still are!" Fruit Juice will respond.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that Fruit Juice are not only your spiritual advisors, but that they're a fucking rad new band, and one to be paid attention before they take off into the sky, like a balloon left unattended.

FRUIT JUICE, w/ The Bugs, Retrospecter, the Echo Echo Echoes, 8 p.m., Saturday, June 28, Bob's Java Jive, 2102 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, $5, 253.475.9843