The Bats – The Law of Things

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 2)

It’s going to get difficult to fill this space up over the course of the seven Bats albums I own. I have little personal emotional connection to the band, and the band members themselves are fairly anonymous. I can riff for a little bit about my love of the “Dunedin sound” that arose in the ‘80s. The Dunedin sound – named after a college town in New Zealand – is really the same phenomenon that took root in other spots around the world around the same time:  jangly guitars combined with punk spirit, and less-than-high-dollar production values; a mix of the Beatles, the Byrds, and the Velvet Underground. Throw in the distinctive New Zealand accent and you have the Dunedin sound, heard not only in the music of the Bats, but also that of the Chills, the Verlaines, Alex Knox, the 3Ds, and, of course, the Clean, if not also the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience and the Straightjacket Fits. It’s a welcome addition to the indie pop atlas.

What I Think of This Album

The liner notes aspire to sparseness, but some sleuthing reveals that Alastair Galbraith once again adds violin flourishes to a strong batch of songs.

“Other Side of You” is an energetic winner with a hypnotizing three-note guitar figure and a cymbal-bursting chorus. “Never Said Goodbye” is one of the Bats’ best. The oddly-titled “Yawn Vibes” benefits from Woodward’s excellent harmonies, and “Time to Get Ready” skitters along on her delicate guitar picking.

I should take a moment to praise the warm, inviting tones of Scott’s voice; like so many in the indie-pop world, he won’t impress with his technical skill but his voice is perfect for his songs. The violin gets avant-garde on the surging “Ten to One,” otherwise notable for an unusually present drum sound. “I Fall Away” is typically pretty, while “Nine Days” slowly builds in intensity, with some mesmerizing floor tom hits punctuating the proceedings.

I don’t know what “Smoking Her Wings” is about – barbeque? – but it ends things on an eerie, sinister note.

Another Flying Nun release, obvi.

The Best Thing About This Album

“Never Said Goodbye”

Release Date

1990

The Cover Art

Terrible. Just hideous.

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