Like Bats - Look on the Bright Side [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Like Bats

Look on the Bright Side [7 inch] (2010)

Traffic Street

Flying under the radars of a lot of folks is Traffic Street Records, and it's a shame because the fledgling label's output thus far has been very enjoyable. The new 7" from Like Bats, Look on the Bright Side, is no exception.

On the surface, the band employs a lot of familiar techniques in crafting their sound: slightly snotty, mostly gruff vocals; double-time tempos; loads of melody; a distinctly Midwestern feel (the trio hails from northwest Indiana, part of Chicagoland for the informal geography buffs out there). Frankly, these guys sound an awful lot like Banner Pilot circa Pass the Poison; these four songs are undeniably rough around the edges, but thankfully never mask the melody too much. Simplicity is often the nature of the beast, but just plain ol' good songs aren't usually held back by such things, and that's the case here.

The title track and "3814 Wirth Road" make up the first side, and they're both punchy, catchy takes on the genre. The band does a nice job inserting choice vocal harmonies on "Look on the Bright Side" and the drum fills that anchor the verses in "Wirth" are undeniably impressive. There's also a slower instrumental break in "Wirth" that contains some solid bass work (I agree, finally the bass solo has come to punk rock).

"Pop Tops" kicks off the other side of the wax, and despite the rapid-fire delivery of the lyrics, the the melodies are slightly more pronounced. The backing vocals in the chorus are a nice touch as well. Closer "Chest Pains" is the longest and slowest song of the set, and it's primarily a mid-tempo affair; the vocal approach gets a little grating by the end of the song's 3:51 running time, sounding just a bit too loud in the mix, but in a way it helps convey the tone of the lyrics, the main line being "I don't feel so secure anymore." As a title, Look on the Bright Side is obviously an ironic take on the lyrical content of this 7", the lyrics of which are mostly par for the course: drinkin', regrettin' things in the past, worryin' about the future, etc. Not exactly world-beating stuff, but plenty identifiable.

Like Bats have only been around since 2008 and have just a few releases under their belt thus far, so it'll be interesting to see what the band can cook up given more time to hone their songs, both from a writing and a recording perspective (Look on the Bright Side was recorded in one day). All in all, a solid release from a band with loads of potential.