Fruit Bats are hitting the ground running to start the new year with Tuesday’s announcement of their forthcoming eighth studio album, The Pet Parade, along with the release of its lead single, “Holy Rose”. The studio effort from the Eric D. Johnson-led outfit is scheduled to arrive on March 5th via Merge Records.

For The Pet Parade, Johnson called on his Bonny Light Horseman bandmate Josh Kaufman to produce the sessions. The album also hosts guest appearances from drummers Joe Russo and Matt Barrick, pianist Thomas Barlett, fiddler Jim Becker, and singer-songwriter Johanna Samuelson.

Like many recent releases, this album was created entirely during the COVID-19 era, as all of the musicians recorded their parts separately. Conversely, Johnson—who wrote all of 11 songs on the album excluding “Discovering” for which Kaufman has a co-author credit—penned much of the lyrics prior to the pandemic.

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“While many of the songs on The Pet Parade were actually written before the pandemic, it’s impossible to disassociate the record from the times,” Johnson said in a statement. In regards to the nature of the musicians’ disjointed recording, Johnson noted, “The songs have enough intimacy that it doesn’t sound like it was made a million miles away.”

In the album’s lead single, “Holy Rose”, listeners find comfort in the consistent indie dreamscape sound that is Fruit Bats. Guided along by Johnson’s soothing vocals, the song gets just the right amount of roughness courtesy of a fuzzed-out guitar. Johnson said of the song in a press release,

 “Holy Rose” is possibly the most “direct” song on The Pet Parade. I wrote this about the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County and was finishing it up right when fire season was raging in California. My wife grew up in Sonoma County and just had to sit there and watch her childhood burn down. This is a love song to the native West Coasters.

Listen to “Holy Rose” by Fruit Bats below and click here to pre-order The Pet Parade from Merge Records. Scroll down to see the full tracklist and album art.

Fruit Bats – “Holy Rose”

[Video: Fruit Bats]

The Pet Parade Tracklist

1. The Pet Parade
2. Club Pilot
3. Discovering
4. The Balcony
5. Here For Now, For You
6. On The Avalon Stairs
7. Eagles Below Us
8. Holy Rose
9. All In One Go
10. Gullwing Doors
11. Complete

View Tracklist

[H/T BrooklynVegan]