The Bats

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Artwork by Robert Scott; design by Alex Fregon

THE BATS TOUR DATES:

  • MELBOURNE: Saturday 28 January @ Northcote Social Club. The Deep Set album launch with special guests Loose Tooth + School Damage. Tickets on sale now from NSC.
  • SYDNEY: Sunday 29 January @ Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Sydney Festival. The Bats perform The Deep Set in full, followed by a “greatest hits” set. Tickets on sale now from Sydney Festival.

“Four decades into their career, The Bats continue to produce sparkling and chiming pop that sounds as fresh now as it does when David Lange was New Zealand’s Prime Minister” – NOISEY

Legendary Flying Nun flag-bearers The Bats prove their everlasting songfulness with a brilliant new album, The Deep Set (out January 27 on Flying Nun). The band has shared the soaring first single, “Antlers”, and announced an Australian tour, performing The Deep Set in full at Sydney Festival with a string section, plus a Melbourne album launch at Northcote Social Club.

Listen to “Antlers”:

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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, 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.

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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 apparently 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.