Bats – Red In Tooth And Claw

Friday, 29th March 2013

But what about the music? That’s why we’re here after all. How do they feel about the material they’re going to be recording with Kurt Ballou?

“We’re really happy with it,” Rupert enthuses. “It’s really varied, some songs are pretty poppy and others are really heavy in parts. We’re over the moon about them. It’s definitely an improvement over the EP. It’s like the EP except better [laughs]. They feel a lot more like real songs. The whole thing feels a lot more… proper.”

While no songs will carry over fans who’ve seen them live will be familiar with one track that’s making the cut, the vocally intense and musically choppy “Bats Spelled Backwards Is Stab.”

“We’ve been playing it for ages. It’s pretty old. But it’s clung in there, with little claws,” Noel says, while Rupert reveals “there are a few lyrical connections. The EP was called Cruel Sea Scientist and there’s a tune on the new album called ‘The Cruel Sea’, which is kind of like a hark back.”

“We’re really excited,” Rupert states when asked how they feel about recording with Kurt Ballou. But exactly how did it come about? “We just e-mailed him and asked him if he’d be interested and sent him the links to MySpace and he was like ‘yeah, cool. Let’s do it. When are you free?’ We were really surprised at how many options we had, we e-mailed a good few people and nearly all of them said they’d do it. We had a good choice. I’m really glad we’re going somewhere that has such a relevance to the theme of the album, it’s in Salem. We actually wrote a song about burning witches when we knew we were going there. Burned in the name of God, or whatever. Innocent, lovely, women burnt for nothing. There were guys that were employed by the State to go around picking out witches for burning and they got a commission. So anybody that had a beef with someone could have gone ‘Witch!’ and they were burned. There’s also a lot of tarot and psychic readings (in Salem), so it’ll be good to feed off that buzz.”

For Noel Red In Tooth And Claw won’t be the only highpoint this year as he’s expecting a baby at the end of April. “We were actually planning on doing (the recording) in April, but it put a bit of pressure on us,” Rupert says. “It made us really focused on getting songs written. We went down to Connemara (on the west coast of Ireland) and played in an old house for three or four days and we wrote like three of the best songs in those days. We were like ‘we’ve got to get our asses in gear. The sprogs on the way.’ We just went down and lashed out three stormers, ‘Shadowfucking’, ‘The Barley’ which is the witches song and ‘Lord Blakeney’s Arm’, which is a reference to Master and Commander” A film that also has Darwinian tones running through it, but would you expect anything else from this group?

Evolution, as Rupert puts it, “it’s just more of an amazing and elegant explanation of life (than religion). To quote the late Douglas Adams (The Hitchiker’s Guide To The Universe) ‘isn’t it enough to marvel at the beauty of the garden, without believing there’s fairies at the bottom’.”

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