In some ways still a cult band, in other ways a time-tested act, Fruit Bats has consistently earned enough small victories to carve out a career in a notoriously fickle scene.
'The Pet Parade,' the title track to Fruit Bats’ newest album, might be a surprising opening track for longtime fans of Eric D. Johnson’s beloved indie folk-rock project. The six-and-a-half-minute tone poem smoulders and drones over just two chords, inspired by the strange and silly community events that he saw growing up outside of Chicago, in La Grange, Illinois, in which people dressed up and showed off their pets. Decades later, The Pet Parade emerges in troubled times, living within what Johnson refers to as the beauty and absurdity of existence.
+ Indie LP is Red & Black Swirl on Clear Vinyl
While many of the songs on The Pet Parade were actually written before the pandemic, it’s impossible to disassociate the record from the times. Such tension and turmoil also impacted the lyrics of The Pet Parade. While 'Cub Pilot' and 'Here For Now, For You' began as more traditional love songs from a personal “I” to a specific “you” Johnson quickly realised that these songs needed to comfort broader audiences, changing the words to a more inclusive “we” and “us.” So too in 'The Balcony' a song ostensibly about a particular space in his grandmother’s apartment, but one that evolved into a metaphor on patience.
At times upbeat and reassuring and at times quietly contemplative, The Pet Parade marks a milestone for Johnson, who celebrates 20 years of Fruit Bats in 2021.
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Nominated "Indie Champions" at the 2015 AIM Awards.