Review : Fruit Bats - The Ruminant Band
DrownedinsoundFirst things first: Fruit Bats sound deeply, deeply American. Bandleader Eric D. Johnson has played with the likes of Vetiver and The Shins over the years, so this shouldn’t come as any surprise. Indeed, there’s something of those bands’ easygoing strum to be found on The Ruminant Band, their fourth LP.
From its triumphant beginnings - where ‘Primitive Man’ coasts along a hardy acoustic backbone and the title track charms unequivocally - geniality is the name of the game. When the latter song’s opening bars subside into a flurry of AM radio riffs and gradually swelling verses, the effect is delightful: you can almost smell the marijuana and barbecue haze. “You’ll always have smokes if you always give buckets of love” Johnson sings in its opening verse. Only a churl would disagree....full text
PopmattersFruit Bats’ sound—at its most potent and tuneful on 2003’s Mouthfuls—has always been tightly constructed. Melodies are sharp, even as the instruments coat songs in warm haze. Eric Johnson’s vocals are honeyed and swaying, but always coming at you with direct emotions, often unabashedly basking in the sun, rather than trudging through the mud of overt sadness. It’s a contained sound, but never one that seemed to be lacking something.
At least until now. The Ruminant Band, the band’s fourth album, finds them striking out on new, more ambitious roads. Roads that, now looking back, were always at the fringe of their folk-pop and often left unexplored. It’s not that this is a new sound they’re making—much of this record, unsurprisingly, revels in early ‘70s SoCal bliss and other alt-country permutations. But what they are doing here is deepening their sound, and expanding it by incorporating more classic rock stuff. More guitar rundowns and solos, subtle shifts in tempo, dabbles in piano-pop, and jangly group singalongs. It’s a varied and rich set, and the best from a band that has been pretty good all along....full text
CulturebullyEveryday, the term indie-rock becomes increasingly difficult to define. Once upon a time the term refereed strictly to bare-bones DIY bands with anti-direction, taking cues from anyone but the industry. Now the term has come to define a melting pot of quasi-anti-mainstream artists that seems to range from everything from the organic Fleet Foxes to studio-heavy bands like Phoenix. However one element remains constant in the world of indie-rock, that being the influences that have inspired indie-rock; particularly a strong infusion of 1960’s classic, prog-rock, and folk-rock.
With these musical predecessors in mind, the Fruit Bats are a pleasant anomaly in the world of contemporary indie-folk. The band’s southern twang and classic blues-rock jams are reminiscent of a musical era that modeled itself on the Beatles and the Allman Brothers; a collection of surprisingly quaint sounds, an authentic and ’60’s-chic, and a modern edge that simultaneously remains present. In short, the Fruit Bats’ musical stylings render the band as both a product and influence of their sound....full text
Fruit Bats Album Reviews
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
Fruit Bats Lyrics
Do you think money can buy happiness?