Fruit Bats going strong with Tripper

Fruit Bats
Tripper
Release Date: August 2
Subpop 

On the Fruit Bats fifth album, Tripper, band leader Eric D. Johnson moves away the sunny disposition of past records and embarks on a darker journey.  Having spent a decade with Fruit Bats while also playing with Califone, The Shins and Vetiver (who they will be co-headlining  a tour with this fall), Eric has traveled through the long winding road of indie pop and beyond.  Most recently he has contributed to the upcoming My Idiot Brother soundtrack.

Pausing from the heavy folksy strumming guitars for more keyboards and synthesizers, Fruit Bats have composed a mix tape for a long road trip. Produced by Thom Monahan who worked on albums for the likes of Devendra Banhart and Vetiver, Tripper has a similar sound to Vetiver’s recent release The Errant Charm.  The connection between the bands runs deeper than Eric playing with Vetiver.  There’s an amazing video of Andy Cabic of Vetiver and Eric dueting on a cover of Bobby Charles’ “I Must Be In a Good Place Now”.  Tripper‘s last mention on the liner notes is “For Andy”.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Bromance a brewin’.

Honestly, Tripper took me a few listens to absorb, but I enjoyed it more with every listen.  Standout tracks for me:
“So Long” infuses harp strums which are actually from a vintage Chamberlain keyboard.  Who would have thunk it?  “Heart Like A Orange” reminds me of older Fruit Bats’ tracks with the addition of heavy keys, but a familiar rollicking sound of year’s past.  “Dolly” is a toe- taping ditty which is dangerously infectious.  Maybe it’s Eric’s work with soundtracks but “The Fen” is a simple instrumental piece sandwiched between bold tracks anchored by Eric’s falsetto that I had not remembered being so high in the past.  Check out the album for yourself as it’s streaming on KCRW until August 23rd.

Track list
Tony the Tripper
So Long
Tangie and Ray
Shivering Fawn
You’re Too Weird
Heart Like an Orange
Dolly
The Banishment  Song
The Fen
Wild Honey
Picture of a Bird

Tour dates
7.29 – Spokane, WA / A Club
7.30 – Pullman, WA / Bell Tower

8.2 – Seattle, WA / Easy Street (Queen Anne)
8.3 – Portland, OR / Music Millennium
8.5 – Happy Valley, OR / Pickathon Festival
8.6 – Happy Valley, OR / Pickathon Festival
8.22 – Redmond, WA / Marymoor Park
8.23 – Vancouver, Canada / Malkin Bowl

9.3 –  Gorge, WA / Gorge Ampitheatre
9.6 – Minneapolis, MN / First Avenue
9.7 – Iowa City, IA / The Mill
9.8 – Chicago, IL / Lincoln Hill
9.9 – Newport, KY / Southgate House
9.10 – Pittsburgh, PA / Mr. Smalls
9.11 – Big Indian, NY / Tiger Mountina & Truck Festival
9.12 – Cambridge, MA / Middle East
9.13 – New York, NY / Bowery Ballroom
9.14 – Philadelphia, PA / First Unitarian Church
9.15 – Washington, DC / Black Cat
9.17 – Durham, NC / Motor Co
9.19 – St. Louis, MO / Off Broadway
9.20  – Lawrence, KS / Jackpot Saloon
9.22 – Denver, CO / Bluebird Theater
9.24 –  Salt Lake City, UT / Urban Lounge

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  1. […] to a rousing welcome, as they open up with “Heart Like An Orange” for their latest Tripper.  Eric relinquished his guitar to croon “Darling you better leave ” as hand claps […]

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