As you swing on your makeshift hammock this spring, fantasizing about summer and all its listless joys (i.e. overweight mothers rubbing SPF 50 into every fold of their bodies, geriatrics shamelessly revealing their varicose veins and, a personal favorite, shirtless kids at play), make sure to be playing the Fruit Bats’ second full-length release, Mouthfuls, in your oversized ghetto blaster.
The Fruit Bats spawn from the self-replicating record factory, Sub Pop. Mouthfuls is their second release that screams simplicity with lead singer Eric Johnson’s gentle voice and lazy guitar putting the listener into a euphoric trance perfect for summer lounging. Although this somewhat homogenous album offers little in terms of cutting edge music, its subtle alterations manage to keep the album flowing.
The Fruit Bats could bear comparison to Ben Folds Five with some excessive amounts of Valium – the song “Magic Hour” sounds as though Ben Folds himself were making a guest appearance. This album also has an alt-country twang apparent throughout but it sidesteps the usual solemn sound attributed to this genre by adding layered backups and thick, peaceful sound effects that keep the listener in a blissful state. “Track Rabbits,” the most ethereal of the songs, will leave even the most jaded listener with a smile on their face.
This is a perfect background album for the summer. You can slowly tune it to the background and allow yourself to drift unconsciously into relaxation. Although the album’s lyrics get a tad ridiculous and the sound can verge on repetitive, you should already be too sedated to notice.
[Gary Epper proudly claims himself as Artsweek’s very own pedophile. Pat him on the back.]