Bats - February 21, 2009 - The Lower Deck, Dublin, IR
By: Ken McGrath
Playing one last hometown show before heading off to the States where they’ll record their full-length debut with Kurt Ballou (Converge), Bats are eager to leave the faithful with something to remember them by. Which they do, a run-through of the still to be committed to tape album. First up though, are youngsters Wounds. Starting off like Liars with a bass noise which resembles a diesel engine revving, they offer up a pure raw energy and don’t give a fuck attitude. The confines of the stage don’t apply here and it’s all Sid Vicious shapes and Flock Of Seagulls attitude practically dripping onto the floor. Not exactly talented they’ve got an attitude that lends them force, giving credence to their playing and a razor-like edge to the delivery. Quite simply put boys and girls, it’s punk.
Wounds may be a bit of an odd support for the slightly geekier, yet much more precise Bats maybe but the headliners don’t let it phase them. There are no fashion haircuts here. Instead, they bestow upon their gathered followers intricate riffs, yelped vocals and a cymbal slice so sharp it’ll have your hand off. The material may be unfamiliar but it’s immediate, instantly recognisable good. Infectious Nurse-era Therapy? choppy beats abound during the first few songs, getting the feet tapping and legs moving. The slowly building energy pulling the crowd in closer around the stage. Call and response guitars twitch around each other as the bass hammers out a holding pattern. The vocals have clearly been worked on incessantly and instead of simple gang/hardcore backing vocals like most bands would be happy with there are the multi-part deliveries. Barks, yelps and echoes coming in from all sides... left, right, left, assailing your ears, making your head dance.
“Shadowfucking” has a great hook that pops its head up during the chorus, while elsewhere massive Kerbdog riffs can be heard rolling in the distance. The only familiar song “Nautilus Vs Irish Ferries,” from the Cruel Sea Scientist EP is a tiny rampage, coming across like a less evolved form of where they are now. “The Barley,” about the Salem witch trials, has a long drawn out intro, which builds pace and tempo, exploding into a short vocal burst that concludes with a flurry of noise. If the album sounds as good as this teaser ,then it’s going to be well worth hearing. Bats may be out to destroy, but they’re going to win you over first.