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Mouthfuls

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Album Review

On Mouthfuls, the Fruit Bats tone down the twang of their debut, Echolocation, and offer something closer to a mix of late-'60s/early-'70s folk and bubblegum shot through with unpredictable electronic elements that, paradoxically, make the group's music seem even more homemade and organic. Most of the songs have sunny, winding melodies and arrangements that twist and turn until they end up in a completely different place than where they began; "A Bit of Wind" starts out as a simple, jangly singalong and gradually adds a brass band, strings, and flutes until it becomes a sweeping pop symphony. The lilting vocals and bittersweet harmonies on "Rainbow Sign" and "Magic Hour" call to mind the Fruit Bats' labelmates, the Shins, although the Fruit Bats' brand of summery, psych-tinged pop is much mellower. From beginning to end, Mouthfuls radiates laid-back contentment, but it's to the band's credit that this vibe rarely dips into laziness or complacency, even on relatively simple pastoral interludes like "Track Rabbits." Actually, there's a lot going on within the album's serenity, especially on tracks like "Union Blankets," which features an intricate mix of programmed and live percussion underneath its strummy acoustic guitars and close harmonies, and on "The Little Acorn," which begins as a drifting, Radar Brothers-esque ballad before adding sparkling synths and soft rock-inspired backing vocals. Toward the end of Mouthfuls, the Fruit Bats return to the country-folk fusions of Echolocation, and while they're still very pretty, they don't quite capture the imagination the way the album's earlier, more experimental tracks do. Still, when an album is as effortlessly warm and pretty as this one is, it's hard to begrudge the band a return to more familiar sonic pastures, and even more so when Mouthfuls suggests that the Fruit Bats' next album will be even more winning.

Customer Reviews

Basically the greatest

The Genius sidebar really is a genius! It suggested Seaweed when i was listening to the Shins (also basically the greatest). Seaweed quickly convinced me to purchase the whole album. my two favorites are Seaweed and When U Love Somebody.

Beautiful, Melodic ...

Thanks to Fruit Bats for such a beautiful album. I can't help smiling everytime I listen to these wonderfully written songs. This is a great album to listen to while driving along on a beautiful spring day. I'm very much reminded of the Beach Boys Pet Sounds on several of these songs -- the use of unexpected sounds and harmony would make Brian Wilson proud. Favorite songs: Rainbow Sign, A Bit of Wind, The Little Acorn. Thanks to iTunes for suggesting this album in my "Just for You" selection. I never would've known them otherwise.

the fruit bats are great

this album is SOOO goood, i love it so much, especially "rainbow sign" (i love the bells!) and "when u love somebody", the entire album is so original and great!

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Originally hailing from Chicago, Fruit Bats featured an ever-changing lineup based around the folk-pop songwriting of bandleader Eric Johnson (not to be confused with the Eric Johnson from Archers of Loaf or the guitar virtuoso of the same name). Johnson began writing songs on his four-track in the mid-'90s before forming I Rowboat, a Velvet Underground-inspired indie rock band. He also began dabbling in folk music with two of the band's members, guitarist Dan Strack and drummer Brian Belval, thus...
Full Bio
Mouthfuls, Fruit Bats
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Customer Ratings

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