Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Review: Bat Nouveau – 'Metamorphoses'


This début album from Australian bone-kickers Bat Nouveau is a sonic picture taken at the crossroads where the restless spirits of trad goth, deathrock and post-punk met to conspire to bring darkness to the world. This is a creation of death-knelling revelry bashed out with such glee that it's hard to resist and even harder to keep the volume low when listening. Bat Nouveau definitely hearken back to several earlier periods, but they do so with such conviction and love for what they're doing it makes this album stand out and they definitely put their own personal stamp on the sound. This writer had to stop mid-paragraph to pogo for a minute.

When they are in full deathrock attack mode, the songs charge forward with aggressive momentum and crackle with life. The DIY sounding production is one of the true strengths of this recording. It almost sounds like the album was captured in a dusty room in an abandoned Victorian house and fed through an old spring reverb, which is as refreshing and covered in cobwebs as it should be. One can even here the characteristic schproing of the spring here and there, wisely kept in the mix. The vocals are declaiming and let the guitars carry the melodies, adding to the punky rock 'n' roll vibe.

When the intensity level is pulled back a bit, as it is on 'Ghosteps' and 'Funeral Eyes', we are in for an experience like a more villainous take on 1990's dream pop with chiming, chorused guitars syncopating with their own slap-back echoes with vocals calling stern warnings. These relatively quieter moments are thoroughly enjoyable, as is the off-kilter groove and gang chorus of 'Our Black Day', which ends the record. What brings the most joy here though, are the high energy tracks like 'Dust' and 'Wreckage', songs that are ideally crafted to rattle windows and cause a loosening of floorboards from the stomping. Remove all breakable objects and glory in the noise.

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