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Bat Fangs - Bat Fangs (Album Review)

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 Written by Huw Baines

Listening to Bat Fangs’ self-titled bow could feel like taking inventory. After all, its shelves are overflowing with rock staples: chunky riffs, driving drums and snotty hooks. But the duo - guitarist Betsy Wright, lately of Ex Hex, and Flesh Wounds drummer Laura King - consistently make them feel vital, alive and, perhaps most importantly, fun.

They know exactly how to make this rush of sugar and garage grit stick beyond a cursory listen, and the record’s first single, Wolfbite, sets out their stall remarkably well. A jolt of distortion twinned with several winning melodies, its clever structure and pointed delivery promises a feast for power-pop nerds that the album delivers.

The song’s energetic twists and turns, plus Wright’s sneering cool, are mirrored on the thunderous Bad Astrology and the enjoyably formulaic opener Turn It Up, which works almost entirely because of the verve with which it’s delivered. 

Star signs are a regular lyrical touchstone, as is the rabble of B-movie horror tropes that trail in the wake of the band's name. Elsewhere there are radios, boys of summer, ice cold laser beams, but they're all swept along by Wright's laconic drawl and some slick harmonies.

Wright’s solos, meanwhile, are melodic, crisp and sometimes venomous; her rhythm work refined to the point that it sounds freewheeling but is, in fact, tightly coiled. King plays with a sloppy gait that can’t camouflage the feeling she’d like to put a hole through her snare on every other beat. The whole record gets in and out in less than half an hour, and there’s barely a moment wasted between them.

Bat Fangs slot neatly into a growing group of rock bands keen to set aside the posturing unless the writing is there to back it up. The songs here - less knowingly kitsch than Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs, a little more rugged than White Reaper - reward repeat visits because they’ve been properly built from the ground up. Wearing sunglasses on stage means nothing in isolation.

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