There’s this book series called ‘Animorphs’, and although you might not have read any of them, you’ve definitely seen one of the book covers. Basically, it’s an animal turning into a human being, Charles Darwin’s wet dream. Anyway, if these books got a gritty re-boot directed by Christopher Nolan, there’s no way a track from Bat Nouveau’s debut ‘Metamorphoses’ wouldn’t be included in the Official Soundtrack. Alongside stuff from Eagulls, Protomarytr and other modern bands mining their parent’s post-punk collection of records, Bat Nouveau would stride tall with their gyrating songs of sinister sneering, a gnarled cross between Slug Guts and Buzz Kull.
Like all bands that mirror and extend upon a previous historical period, Bat Nouveau pull up particularly alongside Bauhaus. This isn’t a bad thing either – Nite Fields’ latest is a dead ringer for the likes of New Order, and TV Colours’ record is an equivalent of ‘Zen Arcade’. Plying semblance of a sound from an artist you respect can show that you’re not a deadshit, and provides a base for listeners to spring from. As long as it’s not done with too much reliance, and not a carbon-copy, things work out fine. Although not entirely original manoeuvre, it’s preferable for a band to at least show recognition and stability in their early work, rather than hop on some bullshit indie-pop bandwagon, or sound exactly like The Foo Fighters.
So, whilst ‘Metamorphoses’ doesn’t exactly stretch itself into unexpected territory, there is still a gripping sensationalism. Opener “The Cry” is an enormously terrifying goth masterpiece, drooling guitar and drums that bare their fangs with the ferocity of Robert Smith on an angry acid trip. “Hung High” decimates all in it’s way, a Gang of Four song poured down the drain, and into the mouth of a gnashing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fight club. “Death Mask” also injects severe melody – Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy in a Joy Division cover band that just discovered ‘Henge Beat’ by Total Control. It’s punk as fuck, curb-stomping guitars bludgeoning their way through a black and white monologue of strident yelling. It’s enough to make you want to invent a time machine, and set the clock for Manchester, 1979.
Post-punk is getting to a point right now where it’s seen as “HEAPS COOL, YOU GUYS, VNKOWN PLESVRES 4EVA”. An influx of bands that watched ‘Control’ and happened across a Cure record at General Pants suddenly think they’re this generation’s Ian Curtis. But the style of bat Nouveau is epileptic, one minute blinding, the next, an irrevocable darkness, and it’s hard to turn away from that. Although not a perfect album, the moments of intensity and dooming glare that Bat Nouveau so affectionately slather into their music. It has the conviction of the original shit, just 30 years later. And where there’s passion, there’s some damn fine music following right behind it.