[ROOTS MUSIC] Pretty tends to eclipse everything around it. And in pop music, that's generally a good thing. Some of the prettiest music being made today—cough, Bon Iver—doesn't always have enough substance behind the initial attractiveness to hold together when poked and prodded by an inquiring mind.

Fruition, though, holds up fine. The music—which tends toward gentle acoustic balladry with a twist of twang or dance numbers that flirt with bluegrass and honky-tonk but never fully commit to either—is plenty pretty. The string solos—mandolin and guitar, mostly—are masterfully played and well-positioned; no one here gets jammy for jamming's sake. The group's dual male vocalists harmonize well and its third, female singer, Mimi Naja, has a striking voice that's tough enough so you feel like you're being let in on a secret when she pours on the sugar.

And upon kicking the tires of Fruition's new EP, It Won't Be Long, one notices the finer points of the Portland string quintet's songwriting. Opener "Turn Your Love" is lyrically sharp and affecting; swingabilly rocker "Bent" proves the group knows its music history; closer "Just Close Your Eyes" is the most lyrically and musically predictable song on the disc, but some inventive harmonies and solid instrumental solos pull it through.

Fruition's musical vision is much clearer now than it was on the group's somewhat uncomfortably bluesy 2010 self-titled debut. In a town where string bands are a dime a dozen, the long-haired quintet is starting to scratch at something a bit bigger than its genre and take real pride in the craftsmanship behind its work. You might say this group's plans are really coming to...but let's not say that.

SEE IT: Fruition releases It Won't Be Long on Friday, Jan. 20, at Bossanova Ballroom, with Tango Alpha Tango and special guests. 9 pm. $10. 21+.