Fruit Bats frontman Eric Johnson, who'll take the Larimer Lounge stage following Death Vessel and Achille Lauro, joined the Shins shortly after contributing to a track on the latter's 2007 album, Wincing the Night Away. Fortunately, though, he didn't respond to this opportunity by shutting down his previous project. The Ruminant Band, just issued by Sub Pop, is a laconic charmer that proves Johnson's previous creation deserves to live a long, Fruit-ful life. Take "Being on Your Own," which twins his quavery, untutored vocals with an unexpected slice of twang, or "Beautiful Morning Light," a love song with lyrics so irony-free that many artists would be too self-conscious to think them, let alone sing them aloud. Clearly, Johnson isn't afraid to seem uncool, as he proves by his affectionate reference to a certain Three Dog Night ditty on "Singing Joy to the World." This quality makes him perfect for both his bands: the one he supports and the one he leads.
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