Tripper

  • Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Aug 2, 2011
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
Buy On
  1. Less dynamic and more ruminative than The Ruminant Band, here are 10 songs and a poky instrumental for country hippies manque and other shaggy folk down on the little luck they ever had.
  2. 83
    Spearheading the Sub Pop folk renaissance alongside Fleet Foxes and Blitzen Trapper, the Chicago quartet play the kind of rootsy beard-rock on Tripper that's beloved by guys in lumberjack shirts.
  3. Featuring generous heaps of falsetto and sparse, jagged guitar licks, Fruit Bats' Tripper plays as a spectral highway romp that pairs jaunty folk-pop ditties with effervescent pop.
  4. Magnet
    Nov 11, 2011
    80
    Tripper is a strummy, breezy delight. [#81, p. 55]
  5. 80
    Together, the imagery and music provide a nostalgic, innocent atmosphere, and an album worthy of a listen.
  6. Sep 2, 2011
    80
    It's full of the kind of heavy textures and atmospheric nuances that explain exactly why Johnson is also a movie soundtrack composer of increasing repute.
  7. Aug 24, 2011
    80
    All said and done, it's the kind of enchanting, quietly literate indie rock record you could build an intricately compelling life story from, while retaining a fascinating jumble of half-told, quarter-understood anecdotes, stolen glances and sad, gleaming characters for leftovers. Lovely stuff.
  8. Uncut
    Aug 18, 2011
    80
    The rest of Tripper rises to the challenge with nonchalant ease. [Sep 2011, p.87]
  9. Aug 16, 2011
    80
    For this, Fruit Bats' fifth outing, the Chicagoan took inspiration from a decade-old train ride.
  10. Aug 15, 2011
    80
    Just as the early promise of the album looks to be coming unwound, closing track Pictures Of A Bird finds the band in fine form.
  11. Sep 14, 2011
    70
    In its explicit references towards woozy psych, soul and even glam, Tripper is better, and marks Johnson as being a songwriter and rock auteur deserving of comparison with the likes of Mercer, Andy Cabic and Jim James.
  12. Aug 11, 2011
    70
    The songs convey a lot of deep ideas without resorting to flowery prose. In fact the words are often fairly straightforward which ends up making the whole project hit a little deeper than initially anticipated.
  13. 70
    Essentially, Tripper is not a drastic change for Fruit Bats but an homage to expansion and trying new things–while still knowing where home is.
  14. Aug 4, 2011
    70
    Johnson-who's also currently putting in time as a member of The Shins-keeps the Bats' sound relevant the same way he always has: crafting songs that are sharp and to the point while avoiding the tweeness that saddles some of today's folk bands.
  15. Aug 3, 2011
    70
    The ambient stuff is nice, too -- different than what Fruit Bats fans are used to, perhaps, but proof that Johnson knows how to stretch his legs without losing his balance.
  16. Aug 3, 2011
    70
    The past four albums have focused mainly on the singer/songwriter. On Tripper, Johnson turns that formula around and focuses everything outward-the lyrical themes, the more-involved instrumentation and the mood.
  17. Aug 3, 2011
    70
    It's a surprisingly dark turn for Johnson, but it is executed beautifully and is not only the best song here, but one of the best in the Fruit Bats' catalog.
  18. Aug 3, 2011
    69
    It's all very familiar and nice, nothing too radical, and the kind of stuff that gets lapped up and lambasted in equal measure, depending on who's dispensing the feedback. But really, what did you expect?
  19. Aug 23, 2011
    68
    The only problem is that Johnson's tales aren't all that hooky. At least, not enough to buoy Tripper's soft and moody music.
  20. Aug 9, 2011
    67
    Tripper finishes strong, picking up steam on the swooning album-closer "Picture Of A Bird," proving Fruit Bats is strongest when it chooses not to abandon its roots completely, and straddles the line where past meets present.
  21. Mojo
    Jan 31, 2012
    60
    It wanders and drifts moodily now and then, but there also some strong songs. [Feb 2012, p.99]
  22. Q Magazine
    Sep 21, 2011
    60
    Captivating. [Oct 2011, p.120]
  23. Aug 9, 2011
    60
    Mostly this parade of midtempo guitar-plus-keys tracks comes off as inert and paint-by-numbers.
  24. Aug 3, 2011
    60
    Here, every song tells a little story in which Johnson assumes different perspectives and uses broader instrumentation.
  25. Aug 24, 2011
    50
    They're good but not excellent; they have brilliant songwriting over mediocre melodies and the old-newness becomes old again quickly. Five. Right smack dab in the middle of nothing and everything.
  26. Aug 25, 2011
    40
    There's too many synths, too many hooks, and just too much happening for us to enjoy it. The charm is gone, and we're left with a mess too muddy to understand.
User Score
tbd

No user score yet- Awaiting 3 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Sep 15, 2011
    8
    This album is definitely a departure from prior work, and doesn't have the immediate beauty of, say, "Singing Joy to the World" or theThis album is definitely a departure from prior work, and doesn't have the immediate beauty of, say, "Singing Joy to the World" or the rollicking Allman Bros-esque jamming of their earlier work. But it definitely is growing on me, and its more stylized sound is definitely not a "staying put". Full Review »