Wednesday, July 27, 2011

THE BATS PAJAMAS "The Bats Pajamas"

How does a new band looking to record their debut album go about working with legendary producer – sorry recording engineer - Steve Albini? Does he answer speculative calls? How do you get his telephone number? And at what point do you talk money?

Actually all this information is clearly available online. And Albini is quite open about his criteria: “I charge whatever the hell I feel like at the moment, based on the client's ability to pay, how nice the band members are, the size and directly proportional gullibility of the record company, and whether or not they got the rock

Whether The Bats Pajamas are simply nice or they have “the rock” (or both), the Toronto band’s self-released first album was recorded last year by Albini at his Electrical Audio studios in Chicago. The trio – Katya on bass, David on guitar and Guy on drums – deliver a tightly drilled and muscular garage rock with touches of medium-pace math-rock.

There’s several references to class-rooms and college life (and young adulthood lust in ‘Feral Moans’) but The Bats Pajamas sound more mature than these songs suggest and recall earlier – and not so adolescent – bands such as Minutemen or The Oblivians or more recent progenitors like The Black Lips or even Albini’s own Shellac. There’s also a steely rasp or edgy intensity to David Hartman’s vocals that speaks of hard-luck and bitter experience rather than the rosy-cheeked optimism of the college freshman. Alongside these tense rock nuggets, the band also deliver more light-hearted moments (the short, sharp name-calling of ‘Bloody Liar’) or a looser college-rock sound (the insistent shuffle of ‘Math Was Magic’).

There are a few songs that drift into less memorable, mid-tempo idling but the better moments outweigh these: the down-and-dirty garage-rock bite of ‘It’s Too Late’ or ‘Beat On’ or when they up the mischief as in the excellent final song ‘Go Bowie Go’ which gloriously riffs (literally) on ‘Queen Bitch’. The Bat Pajamas have album number two in preparation. Whether Albini is involved or not, album number one shows they already “got the rock”.

The Bats Pajamas The Bats Pajamas [BUY]

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