Fruit Bats, the brainchild of singer/songwriter Eric D. Johnson, is back. Five years after 2011’s Tripper became its second LP in a row to reach #1 on the CMJ Radio 200, comes their new album Absolute Loser due this April. This long break was the result of a personal tragedy after Johnson’s wife suffered a miscarriage that led him to feel “so grief-stricken” that he “wanted to blow up” his life. So, he ditched the Sub Pop-backed moniker that connected him with bands The Shins, Vetiver, and Califone, setting to pursuing other musical passions: scoring films, recording other bands, growing his Sonoma, CA-based Huichica Music Festival, and coping with his feeling of loss with recordings issued under the name EDJ. Yet, in the process of reflecting, he realized how much weight a name can carry and how much of himself was attached to the name Fruit Bats. “I’m finding my identity again,” he says, “which is somehow, weirdly this dumb fake punk rock name that I put on a four-track tape.” He thus reclaimed the name, first for a 2015 tour with My Morning Jacket and now on Absolute Loser.
The album is a treaty on how to redefine oneself after tragedy. Musically, advance single “From A Soon-to-Be Ghost Town” retains the same structural pop elements that made Fruit Bats so beloved in the first place. Its simple sounding melodies belie the thick musical textures and the Americana spirit that has informed so much of his previous work.
RIYL: The Shins, Vetiver, My Morning Jacket, Califone, Dr. Dog, The Donkeys
Label: Easy Sound Recording Co.
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