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Tripper

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Tripper, the fifth Fruit Bats full-length, was recorded at WACS Studio in Los Angeles with Thom Monahan. For the first week of recording, Fruit Bats leader Eric D. Johnson brought in a full band to capture some of the live excitement of 2009's The Ruminant Band. However, having recently worked alone on soundtracks for an extended period, Johnson knew that he wanted Tripper to be more of a solitary pursuit than his previous album. The resulting album, a bittersweet meditation on hitting the road, leaving the familiar behind and reinventing yourself, is a reinvention itself.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 2, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • ASIN: B00555Z1XQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,889 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
BUY TRIPPER BY FRUIT BATS IF...

1. ...you already know and love any previous album by Eric Johnson and company.

2. ...you enjoy the music of any other of a number of Pacific Northwestern-connected bands with nature-connected names like Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, Modest Mouse, The Shins, Blitzen Trapper, Horse Feathers, Pedro the Lion, The Head and the Heart, The Cave Singers, The Long Winters...

3. ...you like to support the kinds of bands that the general public is still not fully aware of yet (and may never be) - the kinds of bands with songs playing in the background on popular television shows - the kinds of bands that usually only musicians and true music fans can tell you all about...

4. ...you like the sound of any of the following words/phrases: indie, sunny, strummy, acoustic, hippie, story song, DIY, synth-flavored, found sound, 1970's, falsetto, road trip, Beatlesque...
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Format: Audio CD
The Fruit Bats continue to surprise and delight with another album full of diverse styles and excellent songwriting. If you know the Fruit Bats already, you won't be disappointed with their latest efforts. With each album, the Fruit Bats capture a myriad of styles and demonstrate mastery of their craft in a way which lifts your spirits.

"You're Too Weird" stands out as an upbeat rock number with a blend of characteristically quirky instrumentation and vocal style. This song has a deeply satisfying harmonic shift at the 2:30 mark which gives resolution to the pining verses which begin the song.

"Heart Like an Orange" and "Shivering Fawn" will sound familiar to Fruit Bats fans with their rural landscapes and easy-rock grooves.

"So Long", "Tangie and Ray", and "Dolly" are more strongly reminiscent of 1970's musical styles and feature more echoing electronic sounds and organ than past efforts.

The tension created with the sound of vibes punctuated by percussion and intermittent piano chords in "The Banishment Song" gives way to the ethereal instrumental "The Fen". All of this resolves into the tender philosophical musings of "Wild Honey". End with the cruising-altitude three-feel and optimism of "Picture of a Bird" and you have yet another triumph for Eric D. Johnson and the Fruit Bats.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
In my opinion 'The Ruminant Band' was basically a perfect album. The fact that its predecessors were such great albums as well is nothing short of a miracle these days. When I heard about the upcoming release of 'Tripper' I hoped for the best, but was fully prepared to finally witness the inevitable pitfall that every band hits after releasing a string of successful albums. 'Tripper' is not that. It continues their impeccable reputation for albums that are just wonderful all the way through and never fail to put a smile on your face. If you want to hear just flat out great music... buy this album.
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Picked this up on a whim after hearing the lead track. Though I don't feel it's as strong an effort as the last record, Tripper builds momentum towards the end and finishes pretty strong. I do hear supertramp and beejees from time to time, which isn't necessarily bad, but oft-putting a bit. I would still recommend their last 3 records fairly highly over this as they are more roots-grounded and don't delve into that 70's sound quite so much.
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Format: Audio CD
It's been a long time since I've discovered an album as captivating and poetic as "Tripper" by the Fruit Bats. Even when the songs are mostly stripped-down acoustic, such as leadoff tune "Tony the Tripper," there's an atmospheric, slightly muted vibe that mesmerizes. At every turn a pool of ethereal melody, varied instrumentation, formidable guitar and keyboard work, thought-provoking lyrics and lulling vocal harmonies await.

Band leader and singer Eric D. Johnson often comes from a retro place, and he mixes things up with grace and fluidity. The spacey remoteness of the beautiful "The Banishment Song," for instance, sits nicely next to the country-tinged sound of "Heart Like an Orange" and the lighthearted, upbeat, 1970s-soul-sound of "You're Too Weird" and "Dolly." Though the music styles vary, every single one of these compositions begs to be sung along to, an amazing feat.

Johnson's voice is a venerable instrument unto itself, higher-pitched and in command, ranging from a Billy Corganesque warble on the sublime "Wild Honey" to vocals that resemble the Bee Gees, James Mercer of the Shins and a Chicago band called the M's.

Toward the end of "Tripper," the mood turns reflective, airy, keyboard-laden and soothing. A few of these songs are so stunning that they flat out tug at your heartstrings; "Wild Honey" is one of the most gorgeous songs I've ever heard in my life.

From far-out folk to poignant pop, Fruit Bats are a band outside of the mainstream music box; this is stuff that can take you to a different place ... just sit back and enjoy it.
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I have every single Fruit Bats album so far released and I thoroughly enjoy them. However, "Tripper" is really kind of 'meh' in my opinion. It really lacks the sound that makes this group worth mentioning and to be honest, there may only be one or two songs on the album I like.

"Shivering Fawn" is one that I think symbolizes a part of their old sound combined with their new and can be enjoyable, however, the majority of the songs are just kind of there and unfortunately, the main vocals sound really high pitched and whiny in comparison to their older albums. It feels as though in trying to 'try too hard', they just kind of flopped on this one. I feel like I wasted my money.. and that is something I have never said about their other albums.

If you really want what this group sounds like at its heart, I recommend their album "Mouthfuls" or if you want to hear some of their 'new sound', I recommend "Spelled in Bones". Both are excellent albums.

Edit 09/16/12: I have had almost a year to appreciate this album and slowly, very slowly.. the songs grew on me. The more I listened to this album, the more the songs started to be representative of their last couple of albums. And then I found I couldn't stop listening to this album. The sound is very similar to Spelled in Bones, for older Fruit Bats fans, but is uniquely Tripper. I still recommend "Shivering Fawn", but I also recommend "Dolly", "Heart Like an Orange" and "Tangie and Ray".

I personally think some of the songs in the later half of this album are lacking, almost like they were tacked on as an afterthought, but they still fit into the album's sound. They just don't seem as strong compositions as the earlier songs.

Rating goes from a 2 to a 4.
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