I first heard the Fruit Bats second hand, and from another room. A friend was playing their song “When U Love Someone” on acoustic guitar, and I found myself sitting up, putting down my book, and downloading almost immediately. Listening to their fifth full length album, Tripper (out August 2 on SubPop Records), I can’t help but be reminded of this experience.
These are songs that have the trademark of a singer-songwriter all over them. From the opening strum of “Tony the Tripper” to the delicate piano work of “So Long,” it is evident that careful attention is being payed to the interplay between music and lyrics.
Tripper makes use of narrative more than previous Fruit Bats efforts — this leads to a cohesion of theme without taking away from the folky appeal of their sound. Perhaps its the almost 70s throwback vibe I get from certain tracks (“Shivering Fawn” has guitar picking moments that sound like Led Zeppelin at its chillest), but this is becoming an album I love more with every listen. The stripped down simplicity is there, but these tracks delve into a musical complexity that showcases the skill of its members, and the evolution of the band overall.