BioEncouraged by Califone/Perishable Records honchos Tim Rutili and Ben Massarella, Johnson recorded the Fruit Bats' debut album, Echolocation (released on Perishable in summer, 2001). At this point, Fruit Bats was basically a solo project for Eric, with help from original Fruit Bat Dan Strack and a host of other Chicago musicians. Former Orso member Gillian Lisee joined Fruit Bats in late 2001 as a full-time member. After the release of Echolocation, the band spent a fair amount of time on the road - with Modest Mouse, The Shins, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, as well as three headlining tours. In late summer 2002, the Fruit Bats agreed to record their second album for Sub Pop. The result is Mouthfuls, produced by Brian Deck (Red Red Meat, Modest Mouse, Ugly Casanova, Souled American, etc...).
So what do Fruit Bats sound like? Well, I should say the Fruit Bats' sound arises from such disparate influences as Phil Spector, Rumors-era Fleetwood Mac and the '86 Waubonsie Valley High School production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!-which is to say, the Fruit Bats are hard to pin down.
I should also say Fruit Bats play beautiful, heart-felt music in an age that resists beautiful, heart-felt music. Call them love songs dedicated to Ma Nature, primal lullabies, folk-pop gems (with an increasing emphasis on pop). It's music for dreamers, amateur zoologists, closet hippies, record geeks, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters alike. It's music for all sorts, or, at least, the curious soul in everyone.