Fruit Bats. Hm. I've heard of this band before, I swear it. I used to get these e-mails, way back in the day (okay, like 10 years ago), on an MP3 distribution list. This was literally P2P, through e-mails, where everyone just tried to trade whatever they had. It was before anyone realized it wasn't the most legal thing in the world. I was 12 - I literally plead ignorance. I'm an advocate of legal listening now, trust me.
So, Fruit Bats. We're in for "bright melodies, major keys, and natural imagery mixed with the occasional blazing insight or tender observation." The band has seen a rotation of members over the years, even having one of them perform as part of The Shins for some time (Hmm... Roo reunion?), but has maintained a steady pace in music making.
Track One on this latest release is "Tony the Tripper." Awesome guitar strumming for starters, which makes this an immediate contender to sit up and listen to. The vocals are okay, not the best ever, and on the whiny side, but whatever, you win and loose on some songs. I like the music going on for this, and the way the song moves as a whole. It's not bad to sit and hear, so I'll give it the break it probably deserves. There's the feel of a first song, and they weren't prepped to move farther in to the album.
I come back to the remainder of the album after a beer, some wine, and watching three episodes of "Smash," so anything and everything might sound awesome right now. Hey, I like being honest with my reader(s). Anywhos, "Tangie and Ray" is just this cute little moving song, and I'm sure there's a story I'm missing somewhere in there. THe mixing isn't fantastic here. The music is good, and the melodies for the voices are good, but they don't meld right. It's a simple volume problem - the music is much louder than the voices. Hurts the whole experience.
"Shivering Fawn," to be honest, is about to bring me to tears. I don't think it has anything to do with subject matter at this point, I think it's just the sound. Everything's so light and beautiful, you feel like you're around some sweet lake and pretty trees, or something along those lines. It's amazing that a song's able to take someone away to this whole other place mentally. The more amazing thing is when a song can completely take you there emotionally. There's nothing spectacular about this song really - it's the simplicity that actually makes it all the more powerful to me. Beauty in the tears though, I promise.
"You're Too Weird" is really cute, and I mean that in the most flattering way possible. I mean, it's just understandable and this classic (ok, maybe not classic) story on someone thinking they're not right for you, but you knowing they are. Huh. Funny story there. I'm sure that nneeevveerrr happens. (I love feeling safe in that he never reads this sometimes, even if getting the point across would be nice.) Bah, so much for trying. At least the tone here is much happier and content with the outcome, seemingly. It sounds happy enough. And there's this awesome 80's themed video to go with it!
This album is so damn sweet, but in the least sickening way I've heard in a long time. This album is one for the lovers. "Dolly you know I'd do anything for you" is just so damn simple and nice to hear. "Dolly" employs this interesting guitar falling sound along the strings, with a slight reverb involved. The keys are simple and merely keep a rhythm, never attempting to take over some stronger melodic point. The percussion is a simple kit and a tambourine. It's just all really nice. :)
"The Banishment Song" takes on a slightly darker tone, though I don't feel 100% comfortable describing it that way. It sounds like a break-up song entirely, even with the falsetto-range singing. I guess the slowed down beats in the backing are what drags it out, and thus down a little bit. It's sort of weird, sort of interesting, sort of boring, and sort of sad, all at once.
The opening to the next one is so tonal, and so unlike anything else on the album up to this point. "The Fen" almost serves as some sort of warm up/interlude for the coming final few songs. It's hard to determine the exact reasoning for including this, other than the chance to slow down for just a minute (or close to two actually) before we move toward the end.
The beginning of that end is "Wild Honey." The beginning music is very pretty, almost picturesque. The song moves slowly over the air, never really determining where it wants to land. There's never an exact melody throughout, and even the instrumentation seems just just play on a whim. "And in what remains of you is pure and genuine; is wild honey." Total trip through a field of daisies on a warm, breezy day.
"Picture of a Bird" seems like a more organized grouping of the previous sound, where the instruments are together, but stripped of any electronic element possible. Go back up and look at the cover - this is exactly what I could imagine the final frame of the video for this one pulling out and ending to. We're just ending the day in the field, looking out onto it with no cares, just wonders.
Added to My Playlist:
- "So Long"
- "Shivering Fawn"
- "You're Too Weird"