Tag Archives: BATS

The Year. 20-16

20. Port O’Brien – Threadbare [US]
In 2008, Port O’Brien made an album that started with a thunderous, celebratory rumpus. This one starts with solemn humming. Why? Well, if you need some biography to help your music go down, it’s because Cambria Goodwin’s younger brother died in the interim. The album is indelibly imprinted with the mark of that death, devoid of the joie de vivre of All We Could Do Was Sing, but full of frail vulnerability. It meanders along, like a solitary walk on a funeral weekend, flitting in and out of immediate consciousness. Hard to see how they will follow this, but it’s a captivating document.

Interviewed Cambria Goodwin and Van Pierszalowski in Analogue in 2008.

19. BATS – Red In Tooth and Claw [IRL]
Eventually, in music, technology gets subsumed into the general pool of things you can sing about. While we may still be disappointingly waiting for a body of work about loitering on Facebook 14 hours a day, we have reached the point where the Large Hadron Collider has entered currency. So we get BATS, writing precision post-hardcore about girls looking beautiful in the “ray light”, and having to meet and greet to get further funding for research projects. Maybe you’d prefer not to invite them to dinner parties, then, but this is progressive, danceable in a Blood Brothers kind of way, and unfailingly novel.

There’s a BATS Interview Project, and also an excellent video for Shadow Fucking.

18. Jay Reatard – Watch Me Fall [US]
You have to presume that Jay Reatard probably just knocks out short, melodic punk songs without regard for reception or legacy. If not, then this is the successor to Blood Visions, an all-time great, and should be judged as such. The best fast songs (e.g. It Ain’t Gonna Save Me) would easily stand up on the predecessor, but as a whole, Watch Me Fall follows on from the 2008 Matador singles, with keyboards, acoustic guitars and non-breakneck tempos setting up permanent camp. If “I’m watching you and all the things you do” is Jay’s idea of slowing it down, however, there’s no need to worry about him going soft.

Jay with his old, fatter band that left him, and his Twitter, the first stop for keeping up with who he’s feuding with.

17. The XX – xx [ENG]
Not so much a tundra as a frosty cityscape. While it’s sometimes hard to tell how even members of the XX know which song they’re playing at a given time, the overall effect of the album’s whispered minimality means that it doesn’t matter. This is an album for being melancholy to. Not drenched in reverb, a la J+MC, but iced in it, this is what you resort to when you couldn’t walk it off, and you couldn’t pretend like you didn’t care. It also boasts probably the best song called “Intro” since people began thinking structurally about albums. Teenage simplicity is sometimes required to express things that are teenage in their simplicity.

Totally Dublin interviewed the XX at Electric Picnic, but more importantly Carles thinks they are chill.

16. Future of the Left – Travels With Myself and Another [WAL]
Hey, guess what? It’s Falco, so it’s fucking loud and uniquely sardonic. With energy and aggression at levels that Fight Like Apes would probably sacrifice their parents to be able to mine, Future of the Left carry on the Mclusky legacy of cruiseship-sized guitars playing furious, melodic punk while Andy Falkous bemoans and/or satirises a wide variety topics. Like what? Well, “if we arm Eritrea, then we wouldn’t have to pay her, and everyone can go home”, on the geopolitical protest level. Or, on a more zoomed-in scale, “hidden in the mess of letters lies the awful truth, that Emma’s mom and dad use plastic forks”. A pressure-cooker of self-aware ire at the state of the species.

I’ve never seen these live but it seems like a great idea. Also, when they say “Hi, we’re Snow Patrol”, that’s not pre-planned.


Interview Project #13: BATS


BATS are a science-core band from Dublin, and part of the Richter Collective. Science-core is a convenient term to use because it references more than one aspect of their music: their post-hardcore influence is filtered through a precise, mathy screen before emerging as a measured whole. They’re also (see what I’m about to do here) experimental. And their songs are about science. Their ethos is about science. At HWCH last year they solicited a round of applause for the work the good people at CERN were doing with the Large Hadron Collider. It’s not a gimmick. BATS have just released their first album, Red In Tooth and Claw, and their next Dublin headliner is in the Lower Deck in Portobello on October 8th, though you might see them supporting Jesus Lizard or Zu before then.

BATS – Credulous! Credulous! from Red In Tooth and Claw

BATS – These Ones Lay Eggs from 2007’s Cruel Sea Scientist EP

Q 0.5 How are you?

Fine thanks. A little head melted after being on the road with Blakfish.

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Swoop swoop (rock rock)

(This is what I wrote on my phone as a review of BATS, one of the best live bands to be seen in Dublin, after their support of Lovvers in the Boom Boom Room):

Science is the doctrine
Music is the medium

The no-fi photograph from the same phone/mindset.


Winged/Wicked Things

Science in the lyrics, in the music and in the spare time. Dublin’s most precise prog-hardcore band were unfortunately set-up in Meeting House Square on Saturday, thus negating one of their most prominent traits (the loudness) and leaving them a little disconnected. Bats are a band who generally successfully peddle a bag of metal, hardcore and prog tricks in a conscientious manner to people who would never dream of listening to some of the bands the members probably listen to at home. Not being loud enough makes this a little impotent.

Still good though. These Ones Lay Eggs (from 2007’s Cruel Sea Scientist) is a bit of a magnum opus, flicking between rhythms and tempos like my mother with a remote control. You just get enough of each part to be interested, then it moves on. It’s like this with most Bats songs, These Ones Lay Eggs is just particularly excellent.

Apart from that one, my highlight of the set was the singer (who is always recognisable in public because of the Anticon t-shirt that appears to have fused to his torso) dedicating a song to “the people at CERN who are doing an amazing job”. To break the universal silence, I may have shouted “yeah!”. And then looked up what it actually did when I woke up the next morning.

So there you have it. Bats. Pedagogical progcore.