Fruit Bats

Multi-instrumentalist Eric Johnson may have spent the past few years moonlighting as a member of the Shins, but right now it’s all about The Ruminant Band, the album released last fall by Johnson’s primary vehicle, the Fruit Bats. The new music is a marked step in a different direction from the Bats’ standard indie-folk fare – and it’s proven to be a fruitful transition. On one hand, the record’s got enough jangly piano and down-home country singalongs to give it an Old West barroom feel, but at heart it’s a superb ‘70s reference, enticingly reflective of those days of light hearts and free love. Johnson’s vocals, in previous records so mellow and almost sleepy, are taking bigger and giddier jumps, and his piano sprinkles along with the genial melodies, softly interjected with hazy slide guitars. Neil Young could claim “Primitive Man” as his own and get away with it. You can practically see the hippies swaying along with it all. With Sonny Smith and Tu Fawning. All ages. E. THOMPSON

Fri., Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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