The Bats' seventh album, The Guilty Office, is more of the same and just as good. Freshly scrubbed jangling guitars, nods to The Byrds’ totemic pop before they saddled up their horses and Robert Scott’s captivating vocal susurrations.
Like most Bats albums, The Guilty Office is a collection of songs that are largely one-paced. Remarkably, that pace, that execution and that one idea has sustained The Bats for 25 years. Truly, if it ain’t broke, don’t mix it.
Two songs, though, do stand out. Castle Lights captures the ache and quiet string-swept grandeur of Neighbours from and here is…’Music For The Fireside’; and The Orchard is, simply, one of the greatest pop songs Robert Scott has ever written. I wish he’d write more out-and-out pop songs.
Still, he’s busy enough playing in a post-punk covers band at weddings (the songs of Jonathan Richman, The Ramones, Devo and Joy Division can be played live at nuptials in New Zealand) and teaching music to primary school kids…
The Guilty Office is out now on Arch Hill in NZ and will be released on various labels in Europe and the US in late Feb/early March.