Album Review: Bat Nouveau – Metamorphoses

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.


New Australian Music: Bat Nouveau + Scrabbled + Backyard Soccer + Cool Sounds

I’ve been pretty fucking slack in reading back over my emails the last few weeks, so here’s a round-up of absolutely gobsmacking new albums from ‘Straya’s finest.


Bat Nouveau –Death Mask/Funeral Eyes 7″

The first and foremost thing to be addressed to here is that it is essential for you to check them out. On the Brissy duo’s fucking sick new 7″, they open with something that could’ve come from any good The Cure track. However, “Death Mask” soon explodes into this Killing Joke-meets-Total Control dark enthusiasm, colliding with the ears like a maelstrom of furious guitars. Like recent acts like Eagulls and Gazar Strips, Bat Nouveau have taken what was fucking cool, and dress it up with modern ferocity.


Scrabbled – Welcome to Pig City

You never would’ve guessed it, but a ramshackle lo-fi band called Scrabbled, with an album called ‘Welcome to Pig City’, and an excellent opener called “Brisbane Town”, are indeed from Brisbane. Even if you were thicker than Joe Hockey, their sound, that’s like depression being laid out in the QLD sun for too long, is instantly recognisable as a product of harsh times, an aesthetic which is easily recognisable in any major city that’s been through tough times. Brisbane in particular have amassed a collection of rough-hewn teeth-grinders, like Kitchen’s Floor and Per Purpose, and Scrabbled are the latest to join the top ranks.

Their album, which spans topics from driving across the Australia in a Kia, to living in everyone’s favourite city, is a pleasure to listen to, combining the grainy poetry and country suburbanite attitude of Dick Diver with a gnarled punk spunk. If you can listen to “Jeebus Cried” and not hear the sound of something that the Violent Femmes would commit satanic sacrifice to remake, then you’re deaf.

Backyard Soccer – Everyone Gets to See You But Me

Like Elvis Depressedly turned somehow lo-fi-ier, Backyard Soccer sound like they’re made out of more tape hiss than actual band. That’s a good thing by the way. It makes it sound like they’re performing through a portal from the 50’s, with the songs coming through like they’re being played through a gramaphone. However, they’ve implemented a solid moper attitude that you can find in bands like Mope City, Kitchen’s Floor and Unity Floors. This kind of scrapings off the floor gives tracks like “Everyone Gets to See You But Me” an instant like-ability, especially if you’re the kind of person that spends a lot of their time beside those floor scrapings.


Cool Sounds – Melbourne Fashion

A fucking delight out of Melbourne is Cool Sounds. Not to be too obvious, but they stick by their name, with their new cassette ‘Melbourne Fashion’ producing sounds that some would describe as ‘cool’. The sounds are aquatic, submerged in a tank of suspension in which the lack of a job and being unhappy are way too prevalent. Songs like “Safe Flight”, “Noise Complaints” and “666” are awesome because they’re pure pop written by a lovesick guy out of Melbourne. The jangle hits perfection multiple times, and the vocals are as mopey as Eeyore without anti-depressants. With the the overlaying guitars, melting sax and softly addictive tones, Cool Sounds make a recipe for something that could be the perfect replacement for The Cure as go-to bummer songs.

Cool Sounds support The Ocean Party in Sydney next Friday, the 22nd of August, as part of those awesome parties that Circle Jerk put on for us spoiled Sydney kids. S’all goin’ owf  at the Corner Store at the Imperial Hotel in Erskineville.