Fruit Bats: Echolocation
For the most part, my reviews have a certain "structure". I try to start off with something witty (perhaps due to my yearning to be just like Mark Twain when I eventually grow old). Then I often acknowledge the thoughts of the artist at hand, try to "get into their minds" as it were. Often times, I end up ranting about the CD at hand (sometimes good sometimes bad) in a very non-Twain-esque-kinda-way and end it off with another attempt at something somewhat intelligent, but most often it lies firmly in the pool of kitsch.
The point is, reviewing Echolocation by Chicago's Fruit Bats has changed my approach. Somehow, I enter this review a lot calmer and more serene after listening to this 2001 release. Its as though I've just taken a nice drive through the American landscape and Fruit Bats have been my soundtrack. With one foot in the deep swamp of Louisiana, one in the beat cafes of San Fransisco, one in the potato field of Idaho, one on the street corner of a busy Los Angeles city street, Fruit Bats provide an enormous landscape of sounds, noises, and instruments that wind their way through middle America as if it's the greatest place to be. Their songs make you stamp your feet, bop your head, and hug your girlfriend for no apparent reason. Little do they know (or perhaps care) of the lurking evils that the land of the brave has to offer; so there's Cancer Alley and prostitution in the streets; sure parking in San Fransisco can cost you 3 days salary; sure the potatoes might rot, but hell, they've got songs to play and places to be.
Echolocation is exactly what its title suggests: the mere echo of thousands of locations from across the American landscape. Fruit Bats first album is a genius delivery from an odd, yet fitting combination of Donovan, Muddy Waters, and Sonic Youth at their best.