Album Review: Bat! – Bat Music For Bat People

  • Peter Hough posted
  • Reviews


Bat Music For Bat People - Cleopatra Records

Sub-genres described as anything -billy have never been ones I have properly engaged with, so it was with a little trepidation that I spun Bat Music For Bat People, the debut album from self-styled psychobilly supergroup Bat! I also knew I had to set aside any preconceived ideas about what I thought this would sound like. I had a pretty good notion, as the band’s PR cited The Damned, Stray Cats and The Cramps – all excellent reference points, but already herding me towards an expectation of dark things. Despite the pumping bass and heavily reverbed surf guitar of opening track We Fight!, that expectation was not entirely met. Maybe it was surprise inclusion of Tainted Love, the first of five covers on this 20-track behemoth, that made me realise that there was a slightly showbizzy undertone to this recording. More melodrama than drama, more Grease than West Side Story. That absence of absolute darkness makes this a jolly listen, not a nerve-jangling horrorfest. The choice of covers is eclectic; Bats! version of The Damned‘s Love Song is particularly epic and faithful but lacks Vanian‘s swirling menace. Songs by Danzig, Portugal. The Man and ‘King of Surf’ Dick Dale complete the roster. The 15 original songs? Variations on ‘monster’, ‘graveyard’, ‘cemetery’ and ‘villain’ laced with industrial levels of reverb. You get the picture.

Bat! comprises members of Nekromantix, The Brains, Rezurez and Stellar Corpses, augmented by Jyrk69 of The 69 Eyes and ‘rockabilly guitar legend’ Danny B. Harvey. Around the record, the vibe is relentlessly bat-themed and a bit 60s. Not a bad party record by any means if you like your psychobilly a bit lightweight and camp. A good effort but not enough originality to make this anything but a bit of a fairground ghost train excursion.

Bat Music For Bat People is out now on Cleopatra Records and can be streamed and purchased here