The super sounds of the Seventies have long been a safe space for indie-rock types with fond distant memories of chilling in the backseat while mom and dad bumped the local AM radio station on long family car trips. Eric D. Johnson of the Fruit Bats has been uniquely skilled at this kind of slanted nostalgia, channeling Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin III and other beloved vintage influences via his own raggedly pretty, warmly disaffected songwriting style.
The latest Fruit Bats’ song (the title track off their upcoming seventh LP) sees Johnson hit a peak of radiant retro poppiness. “Gold Past Life” brings to mind the Bee Gees and Seventies Paul McCartney, (especially the hippie-folk pastoralism of “Monkberry Moon Delight” and the soft-rock smoothness of “Bluebird”) with a little wide-lapel synth throb thrown in for good measure.
Johnson says the song is about “love and fate and the meaningless random brutal nature of the universe. Y’know, small stuff and big stuff!,” a description that suggests a little bit more of a George Harrison vibe. The rest of Gold Past Life (which is out June 21) is pretty fab too.