The Bats

Compiletely Bats

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A CD reissue of the Bats' first three EPs, this disc gathers the entirety of 1984's By Night, 1985's And Here Is "Music for the Fireside," and 1986's Made up in Blue, minus one minor track, "Earwig," from the debut. (This set was originally released on cassette by Flying Nun in 1987, just before the Bats' first proper album, the excellent Daddy's Highway.) What's remarkable about hearing these early tracks after definitive Bats albums like that full-length debut or Fear of God is how fully realized Robert Scott's vision of the group was from the very beginning. Comparing this collection to the Chills' very similar but considerably spottier Kaleidoscope World, it's obvious that Scott had a plan for his group from the beginning. That trademark mix of dark-hued guitar jangle (rather like these Kiwis' Australian counterparts the Church without the pretension or the '60s obsession), dry, offhand vocals, and melodies that tend to meander around rather than stick to traditional verse-chorus structures is in full bloom here. Although some of the tracks aren't up to the Bats' later standards -- the lo-fi recording, especially on the tracks from By Night, doesn't do the songs any favors -- Compiletely Bats stands up well as a full-fledged Bats album.

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