Bats - Red In Tooth & Claw

TC 30/10/2009

Rating: 3.5/5

Bats are a post-punk Irish quintet who manifest themselves in a breadth of influences but seem to gel it together pretty well here on this, their debut album. It was thins time last year that the band released their Cruel Sea Scientist EP, so the boys have taken their time to put the follow-up together and that shows in the finished product.

The set kicks off with Higgs Boson Particle where they come on like Kraftwerk, by way of a mechanical rhythm and robotic vocals building to a blistering anguished finale straight into Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date: a distinctly poppier affair, with a guitar sound lifted straight from Franz Ferdinand. Underlying much of the material is a funked up bass line, particularly evident on numbers like Credulous! Credulous! And Bats Spelled Backwards Is Stab, but with contrasting vocals veering from frenzy to fury, serving to pull the songs into a punkier arena.

When the band brush with hardcore on Lord Blakeney's Arm and Vermithrax Perjorative it becomes tougher to digest but, again, the bass pulls everything back into line, such that the execution is much neater, drawing allegiance perhaps with Rage Against The Machine or Enter Shikari. Elsewhere, we get doses of more earthy punk, like the excellent Shadow-Fucking where the Mick Jones guitar influence is more than evident on a song packed with raw energy. The diversity in sound makes for an enjoyable listen for sure.

As you may glean from the song titles, there's a hint of humour throughout the album and overall a good balance between seriousness and fun. It's a promising debut then illustrates a clear ability to perform, although one feels there needs to be more gloss to sustain interest in the future, but the potential is there for sure. Alongside The Blizzards, this lot may well get the Emerald Isle back on the rock n roll map!