The first thing I notice when popping in The Bats new release, Free All The Monsters, is the distinct ‘Dunedin sound’ to which The Bats have been a part of, in their impressive thirty year career to date. Less is more with jingly guitars and loose drumming, summing up the Dunedin Sound perfectly.
The Bats, formed in 1982 in Christchurch have spanned over seven albums, including three EP’s and countless international tours, making them a much respected part of New Zealand’s music legacy.
Kicking off with ‘Long Hall’s’ vocalist/guitarists; Robert Scott and Kaye Woodward have a sweet harmony which gels perfectly, no doubt down to a fine art after all these years of making music together along with Bassist, Paul Ken and Malcolm Grant, drums.
A very mellow, soft vocal style flows through the whole album, with an unmistakable 80’s sound to it, despite being the 21st century. Indie overtones come out more on some tracks, such as ‘Simpletons’ a cute short number, while ‘Fingers of Dawn’ have a quirky feel to it, with some nice mellow guitar solos ringing out to set the pace, and harmonising vocal style.
If you’re a fan of a bit of old school Kiwi indie pop rock, you should add Free the Monsters to your collection, an impressive album, still keeping with a sound that is still known and loved by all today.
Early in the 1980's, Robert Scott was playing with The Clean and sharing a flat in Christchurch with Kaye Woodward. Robert taught Kaye some of his songs and also played once or twice with Paul Kean (ex Toy Love bassist) in 'Thanks To Llamas'.
The 3 played together a couple of times at parties as The Percy Taiwan Band until they got together with Malcolm Grant (The Bilders) on drums. With this line-up they decided on the name The Bats and played their first gig at the Empire in Dunedin on New Years' Eve 1982.
They still have the same line-up after being together for 20 years.