The Bats: At the National Grid
By Tony Parker
Ten years between albums is a long time and in The Bats' case one could be forgiven for thinking 1985's 'Couchmaster' was their swansong, what with a career spanning greatest hits in 2000 and the band members all being involved in other musical projects. But here we have a new Bats record and it's like they never left. No new directions then, no dabbling in electronica or modern rhythms, just an album stacked full of their trademark indie folk/pop that sounds like it could have been recorded at any time in their career. Robert Scott's melodies and vocals still have a certain fragility about them while Kaye Woodward's quirky harmonies and requisite guitar jangle continue to play a part in what makes The Bats sound unique. Likewise Paul Kean's melodic and at times propulsive bass and Malcolm Grant's economically solid drumming. Business as usual in fact. This is a good album simply because it's a consistent and cohesive collection of fresh songs performed with affection and warmth. You can't ask for more than that from a band that has been together for 23 years.