11 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Fruit Bats have been through several lineup changes since their first release in 2001, with the one constant being Eric Johnson — who has rambled a bit himself, playing in the bands Califone, Vetiver, and most recently the Shins. This time around the Fruit Bats are a quintet with Johnson writing the songs and the band bringing forth an acoustic/electric blend of mellow-to-midtempo soulful Americana. They offer introspective and wistful ballads (“Beautiful Morning Light,” “Singing Joy to the World,” “Flamingo”), pedal-steel-driven country rock (“Primitive Man,” “The Ruminant Band,” “Being On Our Own”), and catchy parlor-piano romps (“The Hobo Girl,” “My Unusual Friend”). Solidly entrenched in a tradition that stretches from Neil Young and the Band to the Fruit Bats’ many alt-country contemporaries, what is striking is how the Bats pull off such melodic and memorable songs with such apparent ease. Each lick and lyrical phrase drops just where it should without filler or fuss. Simultaneously familiar and fresh, The Ruminant Band is a strong addition to an already solid discography.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Fruit Bats have been through several lineup changes since their first release in 2001, with the one constant being Eric Johnson — who has rambled a bit himself, playing in the bands Califone, Vetiver, and most recently the Shins. This time around the Fruit Bats are a quintet with Johnson writing the songs and the band bringing forth an acoustic/electric blend of mellow-to-midtempo soulful Americana. They offer introspective and wistful ballads (“Beautiful Morning Light,” “Singing Joy to the World,” “Flamingo”), pedal-steel-driven country rock (“Primitive Man,” “The Ruminant Band,” “Being On Our Own”), and catchy parlor-piano romps (“The Hobo Girl,” “My Unusual Friend”). Solidly entrenched in a tradition that stretches from Neil Young and the Band to the Fruit Bats’ many alt-country contemporaries, what is striking is how the Bats pull off such melodic and memorable songs with such apparent ease. Each lick and lyrical phrase drops just where it should without filler or fuss. Simultaneously familiar and fresh, The Ruminant Band is a strong addition to an already solid discography.

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