Musically, The Low Hanging Fruit is just as surprising. Rifkin’s vocals might ring familiar, as his plainspoken nasal inflection closely mirrors that of the Weakerthans’ John K. Samson, but everything else is a mesh of eclectic traditions. This variety is none more apparent than on “Bones Become Rainbows,” where a folky acoustic guitar bounces between sitar lines and tabla percussion, giving the song a distinctly Hindu vibe.
“Bones Become Rainbows” also reveals Rifkin’s fixation with transformation foretold through prophetic language. “On the day that I die/And my spine sprouts its wings/And I’m freed of the burden that my frail body brings/I’ll step out of the body that so callously clings/As my bones become rainbows and my skin is melting,” he proclaims. Elsewhere, he ruminates on standing before his creator, singing, “Although my hands are bathed in blood/I come before you as I’ve sung/I come still yearning/Come still young.”
But even when Rifkin confines himself to more conventional sounds, he’s still on top of his game. “Dandelion” and “Song” provide the typical yet tightly crafted sounds of the album, while the bagpipe anthem “Fear No Apple, Fear No Flood” ventures into territory already staked out by Neutral Milk Hotel.
For a sophomore outing, The Low Hanging Fruit is particularly strong offering. Hopefully, its poetry and spiritually optimism will color Rifkin’s work in releases to come.