Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Fruit Bats

  • The Ruminant Band [Sub Pop, 2009] A-
  • Tripper [Sub Pop, 2011] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Ruminant Band [Sub Pop, 2009]
The fourth and best-by-a-mile folk-rock album from sometime Shin Eric Johnson and his cud-chewing sidemen is a message to the freak-folk from "a broke-legged paint in a herd full of unicorns." With kind melodies and pointed wordplay, he sings the abiding skepticism of someone who believes we live again as soil, not soul. With a sweetness firmly attached to the things of this world, he celebrates the granite peak, the will-o'-the-wisp, and too much love. A-

Tripper [Sub Pop, 2011]
Less dynamic and more ruminative than The Ruminant Band, here are 10 songs and a poky instrumental for country hippies manque and other shaggy folk down on the little luck they ever had. All are lost, some more than others, but each is observed and distinct. Eric Johnson's falsetto cuts extreme empathy with moderate unction until he starts ruminating for real with the instrumental, which lasts two minutes and goes on forever. Then he seeks purity for four. There's another song too. A-