The Bats: A Vibrant, Gentle Jangle

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Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "The Orchard"
  • Artist: The Bats
  • CD: The Guilty Office
  • Genre: Pop-Rock

The Bats' scruffy jangle-pop has lost none of its charm over the past 25-plus years: Each of the tracks on the veteran New Zealanders' latest album, The Guilty Office, is a chiming, slightly melancholy gem.

The Bats 300

In The Bats' "The Orchard," plaintive strings meld with plucky guitars as wistful hope burns off a mist of gloom. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Perhaps the record's greatest moment is its closer, "The Orchard," in which plaintive strings meld with plucky guitars as wistful hope burns off a mist of gloom. "I want to be somewhere I know / When I get to go, I'll feel just right," Robert Scott sings, almost tentatively. "You'll hold my hand, the dangers are passed / We're raising a glass to a better time."

By the time guitarist Kaye Woodward's lovely harmonies join him in the chorus, the rays of sunshine have started to break through: "And I'll believe you / when you tell me it's all right," they sing. Moving across the meadow and into the orchards, regrets are left behind as they go "a-wassailing around the apple trees again." It's a quiet victory, but a beautiful one, demonstrating that The Bats' gentle jangle remains as potent and affecting as ever.

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