The Bats fly again! Flying Nun flag-bearers The Bats prove their everlasting songfulness with news of a brilliant new album along with the release of the soaring first single, "Antlers".
The new album, The Deep Set will be out on January 27 2017 in NZ and Australia, and February 3 on the rest of the world. In the meantime the four-piece have shared their first single "Antlers" which premiered today via Noisey.
The band will also perform The Deep Set with a string section in as part of their appearance at next years Sydney Festival (Jan 29), as well asaunching the album in Melbourne the day before (Jan 28) at the Northcote Social Club.
The Bats - The Deep Set - out Jan 27 / Feb 3 2017 on LP, CD and Digital
Five years after the release of their last critically acclaimed album, The Bats return with album number nine, The Deep Set. With the title conveying the long established and firmly embedded, it’s notable that it’s 30 years since The Bats began recording their debut album in the living room studio of a friend of a friend in Glasgow. This time around they recorded in The Sitting Room, the studio-sleep out-garage next to Ben Edward’s house in Lyttelton, New Zealand; following in the footsteps of Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid and many others.
With Ben Edward's help, The Deep Set continues The Bats’ 21st century resurgence. Yes, this is The Bats so the chords still chug, the guitars chime, ring, and jangle, the melodies are clear and memorable, the rhythm section is unstoppable. But the band mines the darker, deeper sound that 2011’s Free All the Monsters revealed.
The songs remain reflective but that oft-expected sweet folksiness pops up less frequently. As the title suggests the music is richer, expansive, deeper. In their fourth decade as a band familiarity has come to mean a more careful treatment of each song. Is it maturity? It definitely translates into more depth and complexity but hey the songs are still as catchy as all hell. And as a lyricist, Robert Scott continues his mastery of the personal and pastoral, the landscape and longing.
As always the key to The Bats is the emotion that their (seemingly) simple songs carry. They continue to mine that Mainland melancholy; the kind that somehow never risks being depressing. But of course that means there is lament and nostalgia, even if it’s only for last night.
Taking us from the sun of Otago’s Taieri River to darkest Durkestan and ending in the midst of contemporary New Zealand politics, The Deep Set continues the composed confidence of their recent albums with one of The Bats’ strongest sets of songs, fueled by ever-more powerful guitars. If you grew up with The Bats their early recordings will always pull at your emotions but while less vulnerable and immediate than on their classic debut album, The Bats of the 21st century somehow manage to be more intimate and urgent.