Like Bats - Like Bats [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Like Bats

Like Bats [reissue] (2009)

Traffic Street

Like Bats made a big--well, Org-wise...maybe?--splash this year with their conversely depressing/uplifting 7", Look on the Bright Side. Last fall, though, the band's new label--Traffic Street--unleashed this tidy reissue of the band's four-song, self-titled demo release that, while not quite as developed or realized as Bright Side, was pretty close in some respects.

This demo's basically a slightly more raw and just as vulnerable predecessor to Bright Side, combining the morose heartbreak of early Banner Pilot and pre-Vagrant Alkaline Trio. The production is pretty good considering it's a demo, though, allowing opener "Lousy" to be a piercing 3:40 of self-loathing with a cautious optimism offered toward its end: "I'm living life for me...whatever that means."

You can further hear the glimpses of chilling potential in the hushed vocal delivery and taut moods of "Fall Leaves" and the absolutely cathartic bridge in "Hellbound," where everything slows down a little and the grainy vocals cry out on the verge of tears, "I burnt the letters I wrote you / in my backyard. / Maybe someday the wind will carry the ashes of my words / and you'll finally hear what I had to say." Some might just find this awkward; others can probably appreciate the sincerity and that the clear emotional sentiment is brief and quickly dispels.

Complete with depressing clips integrated into songs from the Casey Affleck film "Lonesome Jim," this is definitely one of the better punk demos of the last few years and should give Bright Side fans another holdover--unless they rightfully have it already--until this band's eventual, and now anticipated, full-length.