Fruit Bats’ Gold Past Life marks both an end and a beginning for Eric D. Johnson. It’s the end of an unintentional thematic trilogy of records that began with 2014’s EDJ (a solo record by name, but a Fruit Bats release in spirit) and hit an emotional peak with 2016’s Absolute Loser. Written in the wake of friends who left these earthly confines and families that could have been, they encompassed years of loss, displacement, and the persistent, low-level anxiety of the current political climate. But the songs on Gold Past Life also represent new beginnings—the journeys that await after making it through troubled times. The new record, produced with Thom Monahan (Neko Case, Peter Bjorn & John, Devendra Banhart), comes out on June 21 via Merge Records and features a range of guests including Greta Morgan (Springtime Carnivore, Vampire Weekend), Neal Casal (Circles Around the Sun), Trevor Beld Jimenez and Tim Ramsey (Parting Lines), Meg Duffy (Hand Habits), and more.
Johnson’s falsetto shines atop the bopping folk-rock of the lead single and title track, which is about rejecting notions of idealized nostalgia and moving forward in life. According to Johnson, the title track explores “love and fate and the meaningless random brutal nature of the universe. Y’know, small stuff and big stuff!”
“Eric Johnson’s vocals are honeyed and swaying, but always coming at you with direct emotions, often unabashedly basking in the sun, rather than trudging through the mud of overt sadness.” -PopMatters
“The too-twee-to-be-actually-wistful tone and the minfully-wry-yet-heartfelt-and-affecting lyrics… have always made Fruit Bats a favorite among KEXP listeners.” -KEXP
RIYL: The Shins, Vetiver, My Morning Jacket, Kevin Morby, Cass McCombs, Fleet Foxes, M. Ward, Rogue Wave
Label: Merge Records