CD Review

Sneaky Bat Machine - "Boneshaker"

By Marcus Pan

BoneshakerI received this one unexpectedly from my DJing colleague, Macross, at In Perpetual Motion radio (http://www.gothicindustrial.com). I like it, but I can't quite put my finger on why - I guess it's the combination of bouncy beats and deep ambient pulses, along with the somewhat-sarky lyrics. SBM come through with a cartoony yet-darkened aesthetic - they remind me of Needulhed; not in musical style but in mood. They have a wonderful comic book style about them. There's even talk of releasing a cartoon based around one of the tracks from their upcoming album…that's some cool shit.

SBM are putting the finishing touches on their full length release - Disco 4 The Dead. This will be one I'll be waiting in line for. It should be out very soon. Once done with this the threesome intend on invading our shores - as they're actually based in the UK. The trio is made up of, very much like Needulhed again, three aliens and off-worlders. Needulhed came from a time warp while Sneaky Bat Machine come from other planets and places of existence. Maxislag handles sampling & backing vocals. He hails from Neptune. Please look at his hair. Playing synths is Evil C. He's from Hell, so they say, and is said to be very much into the electronica music style. This shows well in their work. Lastly there is the all-creator, Sneakybat himself. He's said to have been bred from a "mummy bat."

Sneaky Bat MachineNow that we know the trio, we can discuss the music. The sounds and grooves that Sneaky Bat Machine put together is reminiscent of Kraftwerk, Apotygma Berzerk, Skinny Puppy and other electronic rhythm-pumping mayhem. Boneshaker is a four-track EP, a precursor to their upcoming Disco 4 The Dead. Highly danceable and extremely moving, SBM have a superior command of complicated rhythm sets which they wrap around you and twist together. There isn't a rivethead Puppyman this side of the world who isn't going to stomp to most of this stuff.

Boneshaker kicks off appropriately enough with the track of the same name. Boenshaker (Nanonmix) is a balls-out, rhythmic pulse of cartoonish keyboards and weirded lyrics. It's a fast-paced track that is constantly speeding about. There's a few breathers, but the beat is always there washing over your brain. Boneshaker sets the pace for the rest of the EP - as the rhythmic pulsing style of SBM's music continues through into Little Lost Ghost (Purple Gas Mix). This one has a more Kraftwerkian feel - it's not as cartoonish. Instead it mixes in an ethereal/ambient keyboard in the background behind the beat tracks. The vocals are more swirly than weird. I like this track because it combines the elements of ambient sounds and industrial beats together into a palatable creation worthy of the dance floor. This is followed by the sarcastic smack of a song called More Or Less. This one is about uber-goths. You know the type - you might even be the type, hell I don't know. The uber-goths are the ones that are virtually and utterly dysfunctional outside the boundaries of a club. They live the gothic lifestyle so hard that they'd probably melt of you handed them a metal CD. "Just how gothic can you be?" to quote SBM. So that's most of the tracks. I'll leave the last for you to discover - can't reveal all the secrets y'know…

Sneaky Bat Machine out of the UK provide a refreshing look at the gothic lifestyle with a cartoon-like glam and an off-world sound. Their combination of industrial and ambience makes a comfortable dance-floor hybrid. I'm looking forward to their full-length. Look out. The Spacebats are coming…

Contact Information:
Post: SBM, 40 Ponsford Rd., Knowle, Bristol, BS4 2UR, UK
Phone: 0117 9714610
E-Mail: sbm@spookyco.demon.co.uk
Web: http://www.spookyco.demon.co.uk/sbm