Where countless songwriters refer to the open road as a symbol of adventure, Fruit Bats’ main man Eric D. Johnson paints unsettling pictures with his references to travel and location. On the quasi-band/quasi-solo act’s latest album Tripper, Johnson (The Shins, Vetiver, Califone) concentrates more than ever on telling stories about characters, several of whom strain against the comfort of their circumstances before forging into a vaguely threatening unknown. Johnson also recently contributed to film scores for Our Idiot Brother and Ceremony, which led to his increased reliance on keyboards to augment the folk stylings at the core of his sound. Tripper does feature backing musicians, but for the most part, the album signifies a shift to a more solitary approach — a marked contrast to its group-oriented predecessor, 2009’s The Ruminant Band. In person, Fruit Bats kick up rollicking full-band stompers while also leaving room for Johnson’s contemplative twang to shine by itself.