The Bats – Free All The Monsters (Flying Nun)

The Bats’ 8th album arrives just in time for the celebration of Flying Nun’s 30th anniversary. When Roger Shepherd re-acquired the iconic label, he decided he would concentrate on signing new artists, rather than going back to the bands that made the label famous back in the 80s and 90s. That idea went out the door when he heard what would eventually be Free All Monsters.

The Bats, who formed in 1982, still consist of Robert Scott, Kaye Woodward, Paul Kean and Malcolm Grant and they still make the kind of mysterious, jangly, melodic indie-pop that Flying Nun is known for. In fact, Free All The Monsters could easily serve as a template on how to make the archetypal Flying Nun sound.

That doesn’t mean that the music created here should be looked at as a re-hash or irrelevant. Quite the contrary. The 12 songs presented here could be described as timeless.

Tracks like It’s Not The Same, Long Halls and On The Bank feature beautiful melodies, shimmering harmonies and brilliantly-understated playing.

In The Subway breaks away from the mould just slightly with a bit more intensity and a Velvet Underground-ish drone. But then, that was always part of the Flying Nun sound, anyway.

While each of the 12 tracks stands up on its own, I like to think of Free All Monsters as one album-length piece of music…with an overall atmosphere that takes the listener on a dozen slightly different journeys.

Marty Duda

Click here to listen to It’s Not The Same from Free All The Monsters