Batwings Catwings new 7" release Radio on Gravy Records is bursting at it's own seams. I have seen Batwings Catwings at LA venues and been both captivated and curious about these rockers. Often times they have been at DIY shows with more of the "garage rock" type bands but Batwings Catwings, while lumped into the noise punk indie scene a bit, always seemed to have a more solid standard rock sound. Guitarist Ray Santillan has a Morello-esque attitude and the heavy rock bottom bass of Joshua Crampton and super solid drumming by Clay Johnson felt bigger than the confines of venues like the Smell and Perespace. Pixie sized singer Dana Poblete's vocal style certainly gave them the patina of punk but I could always hear the alternative rock sensibility of Rage Against the Machine, the power pop sensibility of Linkin Park and the progressive post punk, late 80's, feel of "Missing Persons deep within their live sets.
My suspicions (and wishes) have been realized on this record. The A- side Early Exit
simply sounds bad ass from the very beginning synth that percolates and
gives way to heavy drums and a superbly ultra busy bass line. It is a
purely delicious intro and kudos to the dirtiness of the synth and the
distorted bass. Dana Poblete's vocals are smooth but over modulated and
perfectly embedded into the heavy bed of sound and do not be mistaken, it is a full big
wave of sound here. This is not punk, this is not garage rock, this is
just heavy ass rock with a power pop sensibility. It does make me think
of big 80's post punk, I mean, new wave and punk kind of popularized tom tom
beats. What ever you call it - it is bigger than I have every heard
Batwings Catwings sound and it is more mainstream as well. This song
could easily be in the next Batman movie, it is that kind of all
inclusive catchy rock song. The B side - Radio also has the 80's post
punk feel with the synth and Poblete's voice edging you into the song.
It kicks in full force in a wash of power chords and double time bass.
It is a good companion piece to Early Exit but for my taste ends much
Batwings Catwings has certainly surprised me with their sound on their
7" Radio. It is less jammy and raw than their live sound but that is to
be expected. I think it shows a new breadth and scope and hopefully they
will feel comfortable enough in their musical skin to create both types
of sounds and not leave one for the other. That would be damn shame. I
look forward to hearing Early Exit and Radio on mainstream rock radio
because that is where they belong.
Listen to Radio