Wednesday, April 12, 2017
The Bats - Deep Set
I suppose one reason for this reaction is that I simply love style of music that The Bats have perfected; the chugging, jangling folk influenced rock has been a musical interest of mine for decades. I think that another is that Robert Scott's songwriting perfectly blends the specific and the opaque, inviting the listener to subconsciously add his or her own details and emotions on the platform he has offered. Then there is the fact that this band has worked together so long, and has so much evident trust in each other, that their efforts produce perfect little musical testimonies to their friendship. However, not to be overlooked, in fact, a major point here, is that after 35 years of music-making, The Bats have created some of their best songs for The Deep Set. Their first full length, Daddy's Highway is considered by many, including this writer, to be a masterpiece. But in my view, many of the songs on The Deep Set could easily slot into the lineup of that seminal album without detracting from, and perhaps improving, the set. The melodies, themes and tone are all there. A bit of the rough edges have given way to more performance polish, but that is neither unexpected nor troublesome. Scott's lead vocals hold up well, with a touch of weathering (like the creases on my old LL Bean leather jacket, it just adds depth). Kean's seemingly effortless but bouncing bass and Grant's crisp and sturdy drumming are ever lively and connected. And in my view Woodward's lead guitar lines, economical but incisive, are the best she has contributed to an album for The Bats. This is an album that not only is a joy for now, but will remain very satisfying for years. A deep set, indeed.
The Deep Set is out now via New Zealand label Flying Nun. In North America, Onmian Music Group is handling the release.
Bandcamp for The Deep Set
US Flying Nun orders
Flying Nun Records
Omnian Music Group's page for Flying Nun Records releases