Sunday, April 11, 2004

#16) The Bats - Daddy's Highway (released in 1987, I got this at the Virgin Megastore in Manhattan sometime near the end of high school. I definitely considered it a find)

Probably my favorite album that I'd define as "pastoral," Daddy's Highway mixes jangly folk with a lithe, bouncy beat in a fashion that I haven't been able to find on any other album (let alone on the later Bats material I've heard). REM's Murmur is as close as I've come across, but Michael Stipe's vocals are harsh and murky compared to Robert Scott and Kaye Woodward's strong harmonies. I'd probably find it all a bit samey if I wasn't so in love with the pretty throb of this music. This album is the barometer against which I hold all similar "college rock." By comparison the Go-Betweens feel too poncey, the Dream Syndicate too pretentious and countless others too ineffectual or leaden (while the rattle of the Bats' guitars sometimes reminds me of songs like New Order's "Temptation," the whole techno element puts the Manchester band in a whole other field). Daddy's Highway has a natural grace and joy that other bands should be aspiring to (if their goal is to get played on my stereo at least once every two months for the rest of my life).

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