8.02.2009

Playing Now: Fruit Bats - The Ruminant Band

The Ruminant Band is the latest album from Fruit Bats, the psychy, poppy, folky Sub Pop duo-turned-quintet led by Eric Johnson. It's been almost exactly 4 years since the release of Spelled in Bones, their last full-length. This time between records may be due, in part, to Johnson and bassist Ron Lewis's commitments as members of megaband The Shins.

This collection finds the band comfortably expanding their sound. There's a little more stompin' and clappin', heard prominently on the title track, and a more confident twang to Johnson's vocals. The production in general is sharper and dirtier than on previous outings, the most heavy-handed example being the album closer "Flamingo", which features saloon piano and organ with enough gauzy atmosphere to sound like RZA samples. The feel of the album is energetic, if not exactly up-tempo, although there are still plenty of quiet moments, like the stripped down arrangements of "Beautiful Morning Light" and "Singing Joy To The World".

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