Fruit Bats, 'The Ruminant Band' (Sub Pop)

6
The Ruminant Band
Critical Mass
Label: Sub-Pop

by Jason Gross

This folkie indie-pop band doesn't slam you with hooks on its fourth album -- everything is catchy in a modest, reasonable way. Backed by Allman-esque guitars (title track, "Feather Bed") and stern Band-like keyboards ("Tegucigalpa"), frontman Eric Johnson digs into tales of romantic Americana: a waitress' unrequited love on "Singing Joy to the World," the touching reverie of "Flamingo," and the singalong "Hobo Girl." It's not homey enough to make you stop mourning Silver Jews, but maybe provincial enough to make Will Oldham pay respect.

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