Photo by Annie Beedy
Fruit Bats was a name that Eric D. Johnson came up with on a whim nearly two decades ago. It’s an umbrella that’s covered his early solo four-track experiments, a shape-shifting band, and five albums of catchy folk-rock. But a few years ago, Johnson and his wife lost their child, and he turned away from the Fruit Bats name. Instead, Johnson stayed busy as a producer and scored some films. In 2014, his grief came pouring out in the form of EDJ, a solo offering that’s beautiful and painful in equal measure.
Last year, Johnson announced he’s getting the Fruit Bats gang back together. I can’t presume to understand his grief, but I imagine this feels incredibly good for him, like returning to the old familial fold. Absolute Loser–out May 13 via Easy Sound Recording Co.–directly addresses Johnson’s pain, but in true Fruit Bats fashion, it’s dressed up in sparkling sonic duds. “It’s hard to be the last one / in a soon-to-be ghost town” he sings on “From A Soon-To-Be Ghost Town.” And right on cue, the rest of the band wraps him up in Byrds-ian warmth. Download the song below.