Kim Kirkpatrick: A frustrating life experience we all share is waiting, and more often then not satisfaction is not the end result, right? How about a happy ending this time? I wait and wait for new music from The Bats. I wait for more of their melodies, their comfortable interplay, and I look forward to experiencing new musical swirling and floating pleasure in my head and heart. The Bats may not surface as often as I'd like but astoundingly the original line up has remained in tact for 25 years, half a dozen albums and several world tours. I was fortunate early on to catch a small club appearance by The Bats thanks to an insistent friend (Mike of Slumberland) and it was an invigorating, pop rockin' experience I'll always remember. I can still picture Mike smiling, eyes shut, his head swinging trance like to the jangle and pulse of The Bats. The band's songs (especially early on) were most often fast and driven hard by clean electric rhythm guitar. As a fan(atic) you'd rise up on these sonic waves, ride them gleefully, enjoy the blissful balance of it all, and really hope the wave never broke. It did of course but another wave of pleasure was right behind.
Leading The Bats is Robert Scott (also of The Clean), the main vocalist, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist. The bassist, Paul Kean slips along and punches through the melodies with a unique style and tone. Kaye Woodward always has a concise solo, color, or melody to enhance the structure and direction of their songs. Malcolm Grant's drumming holds it all together and moving forward with a particularly bouncy, light touch that really adds to the pleasure that is The Bats.
Another pleasure for me personally is their combination of a Vox AC30 and Fender Twin Reverb amps, both classic equipment for decades of rock music. A simple comparison could describe the Vox as one of clarity and sparkle as compared to the Fender Twin's loud, muscular tone. I love so much music that utilizes either of these amps (do some research if you are so inclined) but I particularly like the Fender Twin's breathing, smooth lower register tone. I love to hear the driven amp tones, the subtle use of analog effects, and tasteful sonic touches.
All of this is masterfully present on The Guilty Office, along with the addition of strings, a harp, and an accordion. This newest release lingers more at a mid to slower pace, but as always the songs are compelling and grow with repeated listening. Lyrics about relationships, observations, even seemingly timeless tales continue to flow with refinement from Mr. Scott. The Bats create beautiful, catchy, intelligent music whenever they gather together. If you are new to The Bats The Guilty Office is a fine starting point and not as pricey as some material appears to have gotten. Other additions would be the band compiled best of (import), Thousands of Tiny Luminous Spheres, another import, Compiletely Bats pulls together early material, and Fear of God or Daddy's Highway are also solid releases.
Lots of info about The Bats at this site.