TUE, AUG 8, 2006 at 11:24 AM

J U L Y 26 - FRUIT BATS - Spelled in Bones (CD/LP)

Eric Johnson has been making experimental and pop-inflected folk-rock with increasing compositional and thematic complexity since Califone/Perishable Records founders Tim Rutili and Ben Massarella prompted him to explore his craft in the mid-‘90s (leading to Perishable’s 2001 release of the Fruit Bats’ debut, Echolocation). Around the release of their last album (2003’s Mouthfuls on Sub Pop), Harp magazine described the Fruit Bats as residing somewhere on a continuum between Califone and The Shins, combining, “…the latter’s widescreen vision with the former’s melodic knack to create something at once familiar and new.” Years of extensive touring followed, including stints with Modest Mouse, The Shins and Iron & Wine, as well as a handful of Wilco opening slots. Spelled in Bones is truly Johnson’s enlightened Romantic opus — in the 18th century English literary sense of the term. With an emphasis on the “bigger picture” of life as it relates to nature’s organic relationship to man (“Legs of Bees,” “Spelled in Bones”), and irrational, spontaneous moments of beauty and rebirth (“Every Day That We Wake Up It’s a Beautiful Day”), Spelled in Bones proffers warm, thoughtful, bittersweet pop that’s as hopeful as it is curious.

Posted by Harry Dean Hudson