Tuesday, November 20, 2018

ALBUM Review - Bat Zuppel - "Mirror /Rorrim" - the psych rock Gods must be smiling

Bat Zuppel are up to their tricks again. They just released a full multi-dimensional album called "Mirror/Rorrim" (brilliant title) and it is like stepping into den of wide eyed rock wonder that might be the other side of that rabbit hole that Alice ventured into. The reflective sounds all have dreamy, trippy psych rock guitars, fantastic double guitar lines and leads that veer off in blue rock tone but in more proggy ways. The opener Deja Vu with an almost sneering British snarl and it's declarative finger in the chest vocal melody feels punk theatrical and pure. The guitar break (or is that keys) is so amazingly deep and lovely really and at this point my mind is shifting as I listen. It is immediately clear the Bat Zuppel is not swimming in creatively shallow waters at all. She Has A Light is prog punk like a runaway train (part Pere Ubu meets Thee Oh Sees or Buzzcocks) and yet it diverts from the lust to a love affair of sounds before bloody moshing again. Passing Of A Dream is just so heavenly in it's seductive double lead and double vocal sway. Magic Mirror with it's almost 70's Brit rock tones mines some of the retro textures that Ty Segall has adopted in recent albums but for some reason it feels even more earnest here. Agent B is full fucking fledged mosh worthy and a perfect song after MM.

The musical set piece of the album just might be Suspicion. It is delicious in execution feeling almost like a psych rock opera with thick bass / guitar lines postured in a art punk sort of way. Holy hell is all I can say about this song. The rock god will be smiling when they hear Suspicion. The track My Prophecy is simply insane in the best possible way. The cadence of Love Machine with its potent "da duh" "da duh" downbeats departs from the previous songs a bit as it feels more power punk poppish with Glam tendencies. I love the arc of the song as it moves into interesting places. Resistance drives the punk tones even further but leaves room for some proggy blistering guitar lines. Take A Bow feels like full rock art theater with red curtains and maybe even flame machines on stage. The melodies fall into pursed lips glam land and I actually thought of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (the band not the album). Amazing work on this song and some of the guitar stuff made me think of the awesome Bill Nelson from Be Bop Deluxe (does anyone remember?). Hypnotizer is this cagey punk spiked song with cool forays into an almost tropical jazz punk type of thing and listen for one band members opinion at the end, love it. The last track, Critter feels like the perfect ending. A short blustery psych rock smack on the lips.

Let's get real. As a lowly blogger inundated with what feels like a buh zillion submissions I intended to review just one song on the album but literally could not stop listening from start to finish. Mirror / Rorrim is a total unadulterated glorious surprise. A true stunning inspired piece of work and while the Pitchfork Media's of the world waste their breath on the Greta Van Sheets of the world I am honored to bring this review to anyone who reads my humble shittly little blog. Mirror /Rorrim is saturated with that feeling, that sound of 4 guys playing music, creating art and hitting that ignitable "hot as the sun" feeling in your brain when all players are creating art in sync, purely and on point and are creatively killing it. It is a heady place to be and this album is full of these moments. The psyche rock flavored with punk and prog rock made me think of artists like Built To Spill, Pere Ubu, the Buzzcocks, Thee Oh Sees, T-Rex, Bowie, Be Bop Deluxe all coalesced into Bat Zuppel themselves. I have not interviewed  Matt, Zach, Gordy and Spencer who hail from Pittsburgh, PA but if the opportunity arises we will have to talk influences.

Stunning album, beautiful surprise. Go purchase it please- Support art.

Robb Donker


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