Album Review: Bat House – Bat House

By Eli Shively, General Manager
[Self-Released; 2017]
Rating: 8.5/10

Key Tracks: “Yarn,” “Chemical X,” “Viridian City (Party)”

In an age of immediacy, accessibility and prolificacy in the indie music world, being a band for upwards of two years without any recorded material seems a bit risky. However, up until they released the single “Patterns” last year, that’s exactly what Bat House was – an independent band that had written a wealth of material and toured extensively on the DIY circuit but kept deciding to work on perfecting their first record instead of pushing it out.

That approach has paid dividends for the math-psych quartet now that their self-titled debut is finally finished. Instead of allowing their audience to observe their growing pains in real time as most bands who go the demo to EP to LP route do, Bat House chose instead to weather the uncertainty and maturation in private and deliver an album that definitely doesn’t sound like it’s their first.

What it does sound like, though, is up for debate. Bat House is so polished it can get a little slippery when it comes to genre labels – the songs borrow from a laundry list of influences, at times sounding like an angular Grizzly Bear (“Yarn”) and at others a sweeter and more melodic Hella (“Alright, Spaceboy”). The thread tying it all together is the production, which offers a nuanced yet uniform sound that cooperates nicely with even the record’s noodliest moments. From the head-on groove of “Chemical X,” to the intense, technical swing of “Viridian City (Party),” every track fits nicely together like different hors d’oeuvres arranged together on the same sonic platter.

Indeed, it’s how everything on the record operates as a whole that makes it such a special piece of music. Every member of Bat House is very instrumentally talented if that wasn’t already obvious – they met attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, one of the premier music schools in the nation – but it takes more than just the command of their instruments for the members of a band to play well together. That, as any musician will tell you, takes chemistry, repetition, and most importantly a lot of time. That importance certainly wasn’t lost on Bat House, and the thought of the proficiency and talent that shines on this record maturing and creating better material in the future is incredibly exciting.

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