The Ruminant Band

Studio Album by released in 2009
The Ruminant Band's tracklist:
Primitive Man
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The Ruminant Band
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Tegucigalpa
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Beautiful Morning Light
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The Hobo Girl
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Being on Your Own
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My Unusual Friend
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Singing Joy to the World
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The Blessed Breeze
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Feather Bed
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Flamingos
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The Ruminant Band review

Another comeback of Fruit Bats

For the first time in its history, Fruit Bats can become a real group of like-minded musicians and stop being a solo-project of Eric Johnson who has abandoned it several times for the sake of other initiations. For ten years, this band has been going through constant changes in the lineup with many musicians replacing each other. There were times when the activities of Fruit Bats froze and nobody was sure that Johnson would like to resume them. This happened in 2005 after the release of Spelled In Bones. Only in the late 2008, Eric took Fruit Bats with another cast of musicians into the studio where the group’s debut album was created. This time, he recruited guitarist and pianist Sam Wagster, keyboardist Ron Lewis, bassist Christopher Sherman and drummer Graeme Green. Besides, the recording of the new album involved Johnson’s old colleagues from Califone, Tim Rutilli and Jim Becker. A country artist in the past, Eric Johnson eventually came to a more demanded kind of music where guitars only serve as background while the accent is made on simple pop-melodies. In the end, we have a product called The Ruminant Band, a record that might push Fruit Bats to a higher level if, of course, they do not disappear again.

The Ruminant Band is the best Fruit Bats have ever made

Despite the stylistic changes in the Fruit Bats music, it’s still light rock easy to listen to. The album opener is the cheerful Primitive Band bringing back the memories of the Fruit Bats early times. Yet the mood is different already on the second track, The Ruminant Band. The listeners get the idea that the plain instrumental part conceal some melancholy, possibly, nostalgia for the days long gone. Looks like Johnson took his labor in the frames Fruit Bats as serious as never before, which makes the songs more personal and thoughtful.There is a good reason for that since Eric has always been and remains the brain center of the band, solely responsible for the atmosphere of the new records. Johnson’s singing is also of big importance here. That is his voice that paints such songs as Tegucigalpa, and The Blessed Breeze with bright colors and charm. Beautiful Morning Light, and Singing Joy to the World are, too, outstanding compositions of the album since Johnsons slightly touches upon the love issues in them. However, The Ruminant Band is an album dedicated to the sophisticated speculations on questions of life and death together with the problem of finding one’s own place in the world. Johnsons researches them in such a masterful manner that he avoids moralizing, rough judgments or mottoes. Thanks to that, the record is even more interesting and pleasant to listen to, while getting closer to the author of the album is turning into a real intrigue.

A time to break through

Those who anticipated another folk album from Fruit Bats were disillusioned. Seems like there was the right reason for Eric Johnson to take almost four years to find musicians and come back to the studio. With the new team of performers and couple of old friends, he reached a balance between folk, rock and pop and released an interesting and unexpected album. Although the Fruit Bats music’s changes are minor, it is definitely more profound than that of the group’s earlier efforts. It is not because of the improved professional level, Eric’s been a good musician before, and not because of the new persons involved, they only execute what Eric says. Fruit Bats are perceived in a different way because for the first time this project is where the heart of the artist lies; because the songs have never been so emotional. Now there is time and reason to hope that Johnson’s finally found those people who would constitute a long-term cooperation, that he will no longer run from one project to another and commit himself to Fruit Bats. The Ruminant Band testified that the right approach guarantees high results.