Dirty basslines, vibrating grooves and shouting discontent. Post-apocalyptic beauty. Gentle Horror is funeral music for the living dead.
Numb Bats is good. I heard their song “Doctor 5” on Dynamite Hemorrhage and I thought “Wow, what is this super melodic garagey girl pop sounding group making a song about a mass murder?”. The truth is I can’t fully make out the lyrics to the song but it sounds like either a suicide, or a mass shooting, or just the story of a creepy guy who could go crazy at any second.
A couple of months later I was up on all of their recorded material available online. “Angry Woman” is a dark and groovey surf joint about what seems like an annoying human being. Their YouTube channel had an early version of the song “I’m Broke” which seems to have been improvised as it was being recorded. The verse by the lead vocalist was about “keeping garlic in my pocket” to ward off soul suckers.
Then “Cry Baby” was released, and I immediately understood their sound, and humor. Other songs were released, all of them with that slightly acerbic wit about the littlest details of existence.
The sound is rock n roll, the vocals are a mix of talk, and vocal harmonies, the punk noise and the melodic mix. Their bandcamp tags include grunge and desert gloom.
So when they released their first album, and I found out the title was “Gentle Horror”, I thought that was the best way to describe their sound. If you’ve seen the end of Blue Velvet, and you weren’t fooled by the fake “happy ending” then you’ll understand this sound. It’s the sound of something that’s been changed forever by something horrific, but that keeps on living.
Gentle Horror sounds like it was recorded in a cellar. Every sound echoes making everything sound slightly wobbly (notice the effect on the typeface on the album cover). We are close to Earthquake center after all.
To be perfectly honest I lack the vocabulary to describe what it really sounds like. Except I can say there is not one skippable song in this 9 track collection. Every song has cool harmonies, and a dark groove and bass. How do they compose these songs? What are their influences? I have no clue. I can stretch my mind and say something like girl groups from the 60’s but that sounds like a cliche? What about the hard rock/grunge element in their sound?
So let’s try this then: I hear grunge, post-punk, garage, soul…and jazz! Yes, jazz. The drummer is intriguing during the section changes in a very jazzy kind of way. The hi-hat is a rhythm section of its own.
As a bonus for you readers, I have uploaded their live appearance on Erratic Radio, recorded July 15 2014. The sound is not the best, because it was really loud, but it is still enjoyable in a noise rock kind of way.
Numb Bats – Live on Erratic Radio – July 15 2014
1 – I Want You
2- Am I Right?
3 – Interview
4 – Doctor 5
5 – Rainbow (super good track, not yet recorded)
6 – I Don’t Know Why
7 – To Die
8 – I’m Broke
9 – Tummy So Hungry
10 – Angry Woman
Buy Numb Bats
Buy Gentle Horror (2014) – digital download
Buy Numb Bats Demo on Sun Lips
Buy Gentle Horror (2014) on cassette