The Bats

The Bats, Vol. 1: Compiletely Bats/Daddy's Highway/The Law of Things

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Along with the Clean, the Chills, Tall Dwarfs, and other standout artists on the Flying Nun Records roster, the Bats were one of the best and brightest in the first wave of New Zealand indie pop pioneers who would define the much-treasured and highly influential "kiwi pop" sound with their jangly, melancholic pop tunes and rough-hewn bedroom production. Less angsty and more tender than many of their contemporaries, the Bats' early tunes were more softhearted and inward-looking, calling on misty memories and thoughtful reflections as they slowly cultivated the output of their catalog. The band's trajectory came in fits and starts, with the Bats forming in the last hours of New Year's Eve in 1982 and taking five years to realize their first album before immediately going on hiatus. Though they would go on to record countless singles and multiple albums and EPs, and tour the world over as the decades spun on, their unhurried pace was always a sign of their contemplative, filler-free songwriting process. Bats, Vol. 1 collects the earliest of the band's output, including their magnificent 1987 debut, Daddy's Highway; its eventual follow-up, 1990's The Law of Things; and Compiletely Bats, a collection of singles, EPs, and random tracks recorded between the band's 1982 founding and 1990. This time capsule of the band's early sound is essential listening for anyone enamored with kiwi pop or even early indie rock in general, as the Bats in their earliest form set the stage for the countless aimless and sad-hearted indie songwriters who would follow in their footsteps. While the first two albums alone are worth the price of admission (Daddy's Highway in particular capturing a gorgeous snapshot of indie rock in its infancy), the collection is filled out with previously unheard demo recordings and studio outtakes, and the earliest tracks from Compiletely Bats define the shambling brilliance of kiwi pop that was never quite touched by anything since.

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