Bats & Mice – Believe it Mammals

Bats & Mice
Believe it Mammals

For a side project, it’s amazing how well the members of Bats & Mice gel together. It might help that several of them played together in Sleepytime Trio some years ago and they all have had various amounts of success in their other projects – the aforementioned Trio, Four Hundred Years, Maximillian Colby, Milemarker, Rah Bras, and more.
While most of those bands take or took a more hard-powered approach to the rock, Bats & Mice instead focuses on dynamic and melodic guitar interplay along with a more vocal-focused approach. Three of the four members switch off on lead and backing vocals, allowing each song to have a slightly varied yet still cohesive feel. The band tries out a multitude of approaches on individual songs as well, something a full-time band might not feel comfortable doing. Here it works, as each song is as strong as the next.
“A Safe Bet” starts off the album with a track that would not sound totally out of place on an early Sunny Day Real Estate album. Dynamic guitar, layers of high-pitched vocals, and emotional intensity dominate from the beginning. A bit more edgy, “I’m Not Surprised” has more angular guitars but just as much urgency. By contrast, “Sliding Scale” is a much more mellow, moody number. The band continues that moody approach through several songs on this album, using a more melodic, low-end approach and layering each singer’s unique voice for a very cool effect, as on the stellar “Worst Comes to Worst.”
Again, the band continues to develop different approaches with their songs. “A Polished Façade” is led by stellar rhythm and contrasts moments of low-end moodiness with blasts of guitar. The more intense “Enough For You” gets more personal, as the singer on this track belts out, “I’ll never trust you is the last thing you said.” Another stellar track, “Where’s Ann Arbor” (yet another band referencing Ann Arbor?) is more melodic, with fantastic percussion and nice vocal touches. “Easy” is even more mellow, quiet yet dreamy and moving, a very beautiful song. “In Spite Of” closes off the lengthy album with contrasted sweet vocals and blaring guitar, layered nicely for a bit of an atmospheric effect.
It’s not often a side project develops an identity of its own, but Bats & Mice is worthy of being a full-time gig. As they’re touring together, I’m hoping that’s a possibility. Together, these musicians are playing very powerful, intense rock while still focusing on melodic guitarwork and their very diverse yet complimenting vocals. Stellar!