“Hello from in here to all you out there / It feels like it’s been years / And we’ve all been whispering, too / To anyone who will here”
The opening lines from the Chicago band Fruit Bats 9th studio album, The Pet Parade, hold a lot of weight.
While it has only been two years since the band released 2019’s Gold Past Life, a lot has happened since then. At the start of the album’s writing process, Eric D. Johnson, frontman for Fruit Bats, had continued the sentiment he set with Gold Past Life and had written songs about a lover. However, as the world began to take a turn for the worse, Johnson realized his next album needed to be more inclusive. Thus, he wrote an album for the masses.
“I stopped singing a love song to an individual and sort of turned them into these self-love songs for the world,” Johnson shared in an interview with UnderTheRadar. As the album progresses, Johnson dives into the ideas of battling loneliness and finding peace with one’s situation; both are concepts and issues many people have come face to face with over the last year. The Pet Parade as a whole feels like a self-love letter written for anyone in need of a pick-me-up.
With 2021 marking 20 years since the first Fruit Bats album, Echolocation, was released, The Pet Parade shows that Johnson is still on top of his game and isn’t losing steam anytime soon. The album was partly produced by Josh Kaufman, who has produced heavily for The National, as well as many other genre-defining bands, in the past. Kaufman and Johnson are also both part of the now Grammy-nominated trio Bonny Light Horseman, alongside Tony Award winner Anaïs Mitchell.
You can listen to or purchase The Pet Parade here. Watch the music video for “Balcony”, the album’s fourth track, below.