Gust of Wind # 5
Sub Pop Records
This Gust of Wind is profoundly refreshing, managing to establish itself in greatness, while paying deference to the similar winds before its time.
The Fruit Bats is Eric Johnson’s band, his baby, his gold ticket, similar to The Shins being a James Mercer Band, or Vetiver being Andy Cabic’s vision. Johnson has taken The Fruit Bats to new heights with this latest record – similarly, the latest efforts by both Mercer, and Cabic, topped expectations as well – its no coincidence that Johnson’s work with all three bands has payed off on his latest release with The Fruit Bats.
From the beginning of The Ruminant Band , The Fruit Bats establish themselves as music makers to be taken seriously. I like all of Eric Johnson’s previous efforts, but I love this album, it has a greatness to it, and timeless sounds that we all can admire, one that pays homage to amazing talents that left us early in another time – Gram Parsons comes to mind. Its as if Eric Johnson ran into Gram out at Joshua Tree, and sold his soul to play this sound. This record is that good, and it will be next year, and the year after. I am completely enamored by the music on this release, and Johnson’s ability to soar above the music with beautiful belting pipes, makes me wanna jump for joy, and it has, and it will continue to do so, every time I hit play.
Making Bold statements with music has always been something I do, when I hear a sound that’s perfect for the moments I know its time to go bold, and The Fruit Bats latest has snuck into my “Top Ten, in the last Ten list.” The Ruminant band album is a summer play, but will carry on well into the Fall. Its a last breathe for the sunshine weekends, flowered filled pastures, and delicious sips of good times, but as that folds, and we proceed toward color change, cool months, and coffee on the porch, I will still be hitting play on this record, a vote to cast anytime, and anywhere, with anyone – its damn near perfection.
“Feathered Bed” is amazing, and when Johnson Belts ” Baby open wide, you got the light in you, can’t gimme too much love” its apparent, like many of us, he might depend on a lady to get him through to the other side, to get us through the night, to be there. I hear ya man! There are so many great moments on this album, “Being On Our Own” might be the track for me. It has this amazing feel to it, very happy song, the one you will repeat several times. They are simply just jamming and the wind is taking us all for a ride we will never forget, as he sings ” There’s a light at the end of the line, where everything is defined,” you realize were taking this ride together, all of us heading to the same place, and “were not alone in being on our own” as Johnson sings. We just have to go through some crazy shit to get there.
In the end, Eric Johnson has grown up, and grown his hair, letting loose, and soaking up some West Coast sun, and influence on this latest effort. The sound is nothing like their old albums. It’s as if I have never heard The Fruit Bats before, and this is a first record. They have risen to new heights, I can’t imagine where they will go from here. If they never released another album, this record would suffice for the rest of my days. It beauty, its fresh fruit, its by far the album of the summer, and might just be the album of the year.
– Ryan Boos, August 24th, 2009