I know little about the band Black Bats but I can tell you that if you need some film noir-inspired tunes that combine surf, grunge and Quentin Tarantino then check out their album Swamp Surf. The music is fun, specific to a genre and unlike other bands that play the type of music Black Bats sings.
The biggest issue with this album is bar none the production. On certain songs it's passable but other songs suffer from recordings that sound cluttered, muddy and desperately seeking separation. The first two tracks “Salvation” and “Swamp Surf” are successes. Both songs feel like L.A. Noire spy films and if you want to role-play you are more than welcome but just not in front of me.
“Salvation” contains vocal snippets from what sounds like an older movie from the ‘30s or ‘40s while “Swamp Surf” contains respectable singing. The bands first failure is the third song “River,” which is mainly because of the mix and recording. It’s on the verge of unlistenable because of the piercing high-end frequencies and boxy low-end.
“Tropical Surf” gets the band back on track with another song tailor-made for Spin City or Dick Tracy. The vocal melody on this track is arguably the best on the record despite being too thin and buried in the mix.The band closes out with two decent tracks entitled “Monsoon Moon” and “I See.”
This style of music can get mighty old fast if it isn’t infused with original elements. Black Bats haven’t found them yet but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be searching. This is the band’s first release and they have plenty of time to sort things out. My other string of advice would be to try and befriend an engineer or save up a bit of cash to get in at least a decent studio. All that being said there were fleeting moments of potential but this still boils down to a case of wait and see.
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