NEWS: Fruit Bats announce lush new album for Merge; see the video for The Balcony

Fruit Bats' Eric D Johnson, photographed by Annie Beedy

CHICAGO’S pristine and lovely Fruit Bats, who’ve been providing us with excellent folk-rock that completely illustrates the wondrous magic of music when they’re flying high (and they mostly are, let’s be fair), have a new album, The Pet Parade, out through Merge come March 5th; by way of introducing you to the delights of which they’ve right this very minute dropped the video for a track featured therein, “The Balcony”, which you can watch below.

The video is a dreamworld confection of puppetry and swirling lights, and Fruit Bats main man Eric D Johnson seems to be almost gettin’ his inner Billy Corgan on; and jeez, what a beautiful, soaring folk-rocker of a tune this is, bright with jangly shimmer and a heavenly way with melody. Trust us, from what we’ve heard of the album, it’s also proper up there.

Eric says: My wife Annie is one of my favorite visual artists. We’ve collaborated on many album covers over the years, but this our first video.

“‘The Balcony’ is a song about patience in isolation, waiting for the world to change while staring out at an empty street. So, in Annie’s words, ‘We created an alternate world – in our basement – where crowded clubs, real live crushes, and chance encounters still exist.'”

Like the rest of The Pet Parade, “The Balcony” was written by Johnson and produced by Josh Kaufman, Johnson’s bandmate in the 2021 Grammy-nominated Bonny Light Horseman. He’s joined on this outing by drummers Brian Kantor, Joe Russo and Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Fleet Foxes, Muzz), singer-songwriter Johanna Samuels; pianist Thomas Bartlett, who’s worked with Sufjan Stevens; and fiddler Jim Becker, of the excellent Califone and Iron & Wine.

Necessarily, Eric and co were forced to self-record their parts in bedrooms and home studios across America. Still, he says: “The songs have enough intimacy that it doesn’t sound like it was made a million miles away.” And he ain’t wrong.

Fruit Bats’ The Pet Parade will be released by Merge on March 5th digitally and on CD, trad black, and red and black swirl vinyl; pre-order your copy here.

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