hard to imagine Fruit Bats being anyone’s favorite band: It’s taken Eric D.
Johnson four years of playing sideman in bands like The Shins and Vetiver to
return to recording—and if you’re going to take that long to put out a record,
you’d better be Pink Floyd or The Flaming Lips or someone dropping a dramatic
bomb of an album onto your already adoring fans. But there’s nothing dramatic
about Johnson’s music. There aren’t many hooks, and the records he and his ever-changing
roster of cohorts make are just too personal to appeal universally. And, of
course, that’s exactly what makes them all the more significant.
of the 11 songs are addressed to someone, filled with lines like “You were
screaming and sweating and crying/Dreaming of a ride in a leaky raft” and
“You’ll always have smokes if you always give buckets of love,” which just
leave you dying to know who that “you” is. And while there may be few hooks,
there’s plenty of rambling Mermaid Avenue-style
enough country vocal flair to recall Tumbleweed
Connection, neither of which could be considered insignificant albums.