Bats – Red In Tooth And Claw

Friday, 29th March 2013

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Brutality and beauty, science and nature, religion and evolution, these things have Dublin angular rockers Bats all aflutter at the moment. These and the fact that they’re about to go to Salem to record their debut full-length, an album that Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou is set to produce. For this you can excuse them for being a little excitable and eager

Swooping in on leathery wings resident professor of vocals and guitars Rupert reveals the title of the new record will be Red In Tooth And Claw a reference from a Lord Tennyson poem, In Memoriam A.H.H..

“It’s used to describe the unsentimentality and brutality of nature, the red blood stained claws and teeth,” he explains. “The total unsentimentality and harshness of nature and how that’s often used in debates, it’s completely in conflict with the notion of a benign creator and that’s what we’re all about. It sounds quite metal but when you hear it there’s a lot of poppy stuff on there. Conor’s (guitar) really good at coming up with hooky widdlers. Me and Noel (drums) will be bringing the chug and the heft and the complex time signatures and then Conor blasts in with a widdler that fucking blows all our heads off. The last song we wrote is definitely the catchiest and most accessible and when I finished writing the vocals I literally couldn’t sleep. It was bouncing around my head. I had to get up and turn on some music to try and drown it out.”

Have we time for a quick history lesson first? Bats initially formed when Noel, Conor (guitar) and Timmy (bass) were still in post-rock band Martha Washington. Rupert and Conor were in college together studying film and Rupert knew Craig (guitar) from school. They got together to jam, spent about a year learning to fly and finally emerged onto to the gig scene in February 2007. TheCruel Sea Scientist EP followed, causing a minor stir with its yelped vocals and slicing beats resulting in outbreaks of uncontrollable foot–tapping. Musically Bats occupy a similar landscape to Liars and Down I Go, there’s even a little bit of Mike Patton in there too. But it’s not mimicking anyone. It seems to have evolved in its own way. An odd concoction indeed but one which works well, sure what else would you expect from a band of, well, geeks? Fancy haircuts? I didn’t think so.

“The overall theme is science versus superstition I suppose,” Rupert says explaining the idea behind Red Of Tooth And Claw. “Just the importance of science really, but there’s lots of subtopics within that, like Darwin. But there’s more physics in this one. The EP (Cruel Sea Scientist) was mainly biology. There’s a lot of physics in this one.”

“But there’s still a good bit of biology,” Noel cuts in, possibly trying to make it sound more cool but he’s not fooling anyone.

“There’s a tiny bit of chemistry, there’s Napoleanic naval warfare,” Rupert continues. In case you hadn’t guessed it yet Bats are not your average band, they’re not preoccupied with writing songs about that girl they knew in school years ago who wouldn’t hold their hand, sob, sob. They’ve got more important fish to fry and it’s safe to say God’s going to be coming up on the hit-list. Without tarnishing them as shitty indie rockers, you could almost say that They Are Scientists.

“Science promoters,” Rupert corrects. “I think it’s pretty important to promote and give kudos to it because it gets a lot of bad press and it’s the most important thing in the world. It’s the only thing that can save us from what we’ve done to this planet. It means a lot more to me than…”

“Not like Chris Martin or anything like that from Coldplay,” Noel interjects before things get out of hand, not wanting his band to be tarnished by comparisons to a musical bed-wetter. There’s little chance of mixing up the two though. Bats don’t play it safe. They don’t want people to follow blindly like sheep, which is why science is so important to them and why religion and pure faith come into their firing range. After all this is a band who on their debut EP launched a scathing attack on creationist Kent Hovind. Check out “Death To Kent Hovind” on their MySpace –

As Rupert puts it they want to “stomp on as many fucking stupid ideas (as we can). Bit of a ‘fuck you’ to silliness. We attack astrology, religion of course goes without saying, people using pseudo-science to influences others, making money off others. Astrology, UFOs, religion and ghosts.”

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