Fuits Bats / Vetiver
September 12, 2011
The Fruit Bats are the brainchild of singer/songwriter Eric Johnson (member of The Shins and Vetiver) While the last two Fruit Bats records were fairly pleasant slabs of folk flecked indie rock jangle, their latest album - Spelled In Bones shows the band taking HUGE strides towards a bigger sound and better songs and a much more expansive sonic world. Described in almost every review as "the Shins meet Califone", The Fruit Bats have now managed to become more than that, definitely their own band, although the sonic referents to those two outfits certainly can't be ignored. Johnson's voice is eerily similar to the Shins' James Mercer, but where Mercer's vocals tend toward the ebullient and poptastically bombastic, the music following suit, Johnson tends toward the more melancholy occasionally slipping into a perfectly lovely falsetto, all over delicate piano and strummed minor key guitar, the jangle muted and subtle, w/ lap steel filigree giving the proceedings a lush, countrified feel.