Full disclosure: I’ve never been a fan of Lawrence Arms, and it is incredibly difficult to discuss this band without making the comparison. This is distinctively Midwestern punk rock with nasally yet gruff vocals. With that said, a couple listens in and I think I’m a fan. While a little under half of the songs fall flat, the rest of this album is top notch. Like Bats really excels when things get a bit more mid-tempo, a bit darker, a bit more melodic, and a bit heavier. Those moments are so much more memorable than their more straightforward pop punk moments. In my mind, this nine song LP would have made a killer four or five song 7”. Regardless, this record is worth picking up, and I look forward to hearing what direction this band chooses to go in next.
–Chris Mason (John Wilkes Booth/Bloated Cat)