BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 The Bats: Free All the Monsters (Flying Nun)

 |   |  1 min read

The Bats: When the Day Comes
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 The Bats: Free All the Monsters (Flying Nun)

The rolling, aural signature of the Bats' guitars and locked-in rhythm section has always sounded at its best when it drops the tempo and engages with a romantically woozy sound which -- when married to lyrics of optimism and gentleness -- just brings a smile.

This lovely album - which doesn't stray far from their template -- will have you smiling with recognition and warmth as it unveils exactly those qualities.

Throughout there are songs of letting go of fear, worry and those monsters within, of light come shining (even though the singer has been waiting for years within four old granite walls), time being the healer and "getting over you, it's tragic but that's the way it goes".

Lyrically some of these songs could just as easily be about the passing of parents and friends as about the loss of love, but everywhere there is a welcoming, supportive hand reaching out. Nothing here rolls around in melancholy, just acknowldges such a state exists and points to the sunshine.

On a musical level the Bats have really lifted their game from the earlier and slightly disappointing Guilty Office. The vocals here lock beautifully, there is a crispness to their sound and the subtle additions of viola and mandolin, as well as subtle economic guitar passages, elevate the uplifting effect even further.

Perhaps the presence of producer Dale Cotton (who also produced singer-guitarist Robert Scott's superb Ends Run Together album last year) accounts for that.

But it is also the strength of the songs too: that effortless amalgam of slightlydelic pop and folk (It's Not the Same, the beautiful On the Bank) occupy the same space as slightly urgent darker material (In the Subway, the poetic When the Day Comes towards the end) but neither end of the spectrum overwhelms the other.

The too-short instrumental Canopy has the most subtle touch of experimental Robert Fripp about it. Delightful. 

Aside from a couple of songs which seem lesser lights in this company (Fingers of Dawn and the archetypal Space Junk, despite its satellite-reaching guitar passage, back-to-back pull down the middle) this is the Bats at the top of their late-career game once more.

Bats bassist Paul Kean answers the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire here

FOR OTHER 'BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011' ALBUMS GO HERE

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Juliagrace: Beautiful Survivor (Parachute)

Juliagrace: Beautiful Survivor (Parachute)

One problem with being identified as a "Christian artist" -- as so many have discovered -- is that there is a resistance to them outside that market, and because of that many simply give... > Read more

Max Stowers: Elements of Funk (bandcamp)

Max Stowers: Elements of Funk (bandcamp)

Anyone who doesn't know of New Zealand bass player Max Stowers clearly hasn't been paying attention for the past few decades. Here is a very short list (taken from a very long one) of the bands... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Philip Glass: Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

Philip Glass: Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

There are few things more depressing than observing a revolution become a style (or the Beatles’ Revolution become a Nike ad). Or to witness innovation morph into cliché. When director... > Read more

EPs by Shani.O

EPs by Shani.O

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Shani.O. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in... > Read more