The Bat Bites - Creatures of the Night (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Bat Bites

Creatures of the Night (2009)

Monster Zero

Given their name, album title and their leatherjacket/jeans aesthetic, I figured it wouldn't be much of a stretch to assume Rotterdam's Bat Bites would be a horror/pop-punk hybrid in the vein of the Groovie Ghoulies. Thankfully, that was one assumption that didn't completely come back to bite me, ha! Get it? Bite me? Anyhow, although Bat Bites do walk the path of a well-worn road, their strut has enough style and panache to make you pay attention.

Creatures of the Night begins with a song of the same name that gets things really going out the gate. With its fast pace, hard-hitting rhythms and dark guitar parts it is almost reminiscent of early horror punk pioneers like the Misfits or T.S.O.L, or at least as much as it can with co-vocalist Michael's snotty delivery. While the song itself highlights the band's basic formula of reasonably simple three- or four-chord pop-punk it also reveals the subtle strengths of the EP, in their ability to throw enough flair in their leads and vary the tempo to keep from the album running together.

Unusually, the Bat Bites wait to put the crown jewel of their album about halfway through in "I Hope You Feel the Same." Sure, the majority of the album contains good pop songs and could fit right in with the canon of much of their influences and contemporaries (musically "Make Me Love You" could be a shoe-in for a Copyrights song), but "I Hope You Feel the Same" stands out as a truly brilliant piece of pop songwriting. They add in a faint layer of organ to beef up the parts of the song that are vocal-absent, offer up a seamless transition between the verses, chorus and pre-chorus, and even add in an acoustic guitar breakdown. If you don't find yourself winging along to the backup "whoa oh"-ing and the catastrophically contagious chorus of "and after all, I hope you feel the same," someone should probably call the constabulary because you sir and/or ma'am are a sociopath. Besides, it really sums up the feelings of every underdog, down and out, loser picking up a guitar hoping to win the hearts and minds of their lady or dude-ly fair.

It is far from perfect, but Creatures of the Night certainly doesn't bite, ha! Get it? Bite? I'll admit it is probably worth the price of admission for "I Hope You Feel the Same," which is likely one of the best pop-punk songs any of us will hear all year. It shouldn't go without mentioning that there are shared female and male lead vocals if that is your sort of thing.