Truthless Faithless is the first album from BATS, so here’s a review.
Well, it’s predominantly a rock album, seemingly designed to capture a live sound. There’s a lot of energy and, despite the last two songs engaging in the dramatic and (almost) theatrical, there’s a good deal of groove to most of the songs that helps them roll along smoothly. the songs are pretty tight. There’s some minor “psychedelic” flourishes found throughout the songs that add enough to each song without being dominant and the vocals are usually shouted which works.
A lot of the album hits hard and loud whilst sounding like a band finding out a bit about how to work their own sound whilst still being strongly guided by their influences. This isn’t a bad thing as parts that sound like they could have come from other artists are melded pretty well and it doesn’t sound as though these moments were a conscious act. Furthermore, there is something a little different running throughout the album that does make the songs here BATS’ own.
In regards to the closing tracks, “Bad Handshake”, the penultimate one goes for a more theatrical sound than the rest of the album and gradually builds up to a nice climax, whilst “Faithless” is an acoustic track that goes for a more dramatic sound and feels more like a postscript to the rest of the album. These two songs work well, but they feel very much at odds with the rest of the album.
Sans “24 Hours” and parts of “Alexus Nexus” which still fit well with the album, the last two tracks seemingly come out of nowhere. There’s a thread of seriousness throughout the album both in the sound and the lyrics, but most of it is anchored by a lot of the album sounding really fun and lively. Suddenly there’s two songs that come in that switch to something so much more serious and, especially in the case of “Faithless”, much less lively in sound, throwing the balance right out which is a shame as they’re both decent songs and work well as closing songs.
Vocally the album is strong. Mostly shouted, or at least sounding as though they are shouted, the vocals match the energy of each song very well. Sometimes there’s harmonies that work really well to accentuate some of the lyrics and sometimes the vocals soften a fair bit, but the vocals always match the songs, sounding as part of the songs rather than apart from them.
It is clear that effort went into recording Truthless Faithless and in ways that effort pays off. For the most part it has a nice, lively rock sound and is quite fun. There are some parts that don’t quite work, but the album is a strong debut. Here’s hoping that BATS continue to develop their sound.