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Fruit Bats, Spelled in Bones

The Fruit Bats first emerged as a duo between singer-songwriter Eric Johnson and multi-instrumentalist Gillian Lisee — in this form they released their promising alt-country 2001 debut Echolocation on indie label Perishable records. After two solid years of touring, they jumped ship to Sub-Pop records, where they put out their critically acclaimed 2003 sophomore release Mouthfuls . Since then, the Bats have lost core member Lisee, re-located from Chicago to Seattle, and have developed into a quartet. All these changes have given their latest release, Spelled in Bones , a more focused, and sprawling form of beaming folk-pop that was originally presented on Mouthfuls. Bones opens with the Sean Lennon-esque “Lives Of Crime” — with its layered guitars, and vintage keyboards it quickly becomes apparent that the Bats are in love with 70’s pop music (two tracks are appropriately called “Born In The 70s” and “The Earthquake of 73”). Other highlights include, the renegade titled track, the bittersweet ballad “Every Day That We Wake Up”, and the bouncy “Legs Of Bees”. The only real downside to Bones is that it’s cohesiveness can sometimes lead to same-sounding tracks, but all in all, the Fruit Bats have managed to create a record full of warm-catchy melodies and alluring poetic lyrics. (Sub Pop) Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Stars

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