Fruit Bats - The Ruminant Band
It's easy to see how Johnson would slot into the ramshackle pop zone inhabited by James Mercer and co.; he's a writer of warm, hazy, easygoing tunes that conjure up images of rolling fields of hay in late summer. Much of 'The Ruminant Band' is filtered through an amber haze; the strummed acoustic guitar on 'Primitive Man' and 'Tegucigalpa' are particularly engaging, their weather-beaten, battered, yet warm refrains creating a cosy ambience.
It sounds like Johnson is a fan of Paul McCartney in places, too: 'My Unusual Friend' is particularly reminiscent of Wings, while the title track swings between Greenwich Village-style folk, Devendra Banhart and McCartney's solo material. The honky-tonk piano jolts on loose free-for-all 'The Hobo Girl', meanwhile, is distinctly Dylanesque, especially when coupled with Johnson's pinched nasal tones.
Johnson may display his influences a bit too audaciously to ever really make a classic album, but if he keeps making charming little summertime nuggets like this, no doubt Fruit Bats will continue to flourish.
Review by Lauren Murphy | 09:00 | Thursday 13th August 2009 | Album Review
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