Batsch – Collar EP (Tin Angel Records)

Batsch – Collar EP (Tin Angel Records)

Some nine months after treating us to Tiles, Batsch release another five-track Extended Play recording. Building on both the promise and the art-funk meets synth-pop template of its predecessor, the Midlands-based quartet now step right up to the musical plate with Collar.

Bursting with ideas ‘Celina’ rushes headlong toward its destination, carried along by a babbling brook of rhythm and punctuated by Mason Le Long’s seductive white-funk guitar and Andy Whitehead’s keyboard flourishes. ‘22’ further assembles the basic elements of funk, jazz and synthetic-pop, fusing them together with a freshness and ebullience that was not immediately apparent on Tiles.

The EP’s centrepiece and stand-out track is ‘Did You Hear About Argine?’ – a solemn reflection upon some of the stark choices faced by teenage pregnancy – built around a simple yet determined melody perforated occasionally by stabs of impassioned synth and guitar. The song finally gathers a dizzying progressive momentum all of its own before quietly disappearing back from whence it came.

All murmuring synths and scratchy guitar, ‘Mirrorball’ is one step removed from the disco floor its title suggests, whilst concluding track ‘Can’t Tell’ bowls along at a hurried pace with a smile on its face and optimism in its heart.

With their roots immersed in mid-period Talking Heads, the synthetic melancholy of Blue Nile and the cooler jazz textures of Steely Dan, in what seems to be a very short space of time Batsch have relocated a sound that once captured an era into something that now threatens to transcend it.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Collar was released on 14th July 2014 through Tin Angel Records

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.