The Bats The Guilty Office

The Bats The Guilty Office
It's hard to go wrong with the Bats. For more than two decades, this New Zealand foursome have been a stunning model of consistency, with their albums serving as prime examples of that much-loved kiwi pop jangle. And The Guilty Office is no exception. Following up on 2005's excellent At the National Grid, the group's seventh album proper finds Bats principal/Clean bassist Robert Scott leading the group through a set of low-key, yet moving, heart-on-sleeve pop songs. And like last time out, the Bats push forward a cleaner, more acoustic-leaning sound, in many ways picking back up and expanding on the straight-ahead, hit-you-in-the-gut approach of the group's seminal 1987 debut, Daddy's Highway. At times, the record's a bit more downbeat than usual - perhaps highlighted best in The Guilty Office's standout, put-on-repeat title track - and there's more use of orchestral devices such as strings and harp. There aren't any big surprises but there aren't any disappointments either, just the Bats sounding as great as ever. (Arch Hill)