Race With The Devil – The Bats
For those who loved the pop sensibilities of The Bats’ ‘A Shabby Little Hut’ and ‘Rebecca Stein’, or the fun of their Afrikaans songs ‘Groen En Goud’ or ‘Weltevrede Stasie’, you may be in for a bit of a shock if you put on ‘Race With The Devil’. But then again, if you are listening to it on the first ‘Astral Daze’ SA Psyche Rock compilation album, it fits right in and you would probably not realise that you were listening to a song by The Bats unless you were following the track listing closely (or you knew the song well).
The track starts off with a proud trumpet which may suggest a Spanish song or perhaps something from South America or Herb Alpert. But there is a clue in the opening fanfare as the thunderclouds of a storm roll in the background. Then we are suddenly rushing headlong in a race with the devil, driven by a searing guitar and pounding drums. This all makes helter skelter seem like a phrase to describe a lazy Sunday walk in the park. The opening trumpet sound returns to bring a raging bull feel to the track.
On the second ‘Astral Daze’ compilation, fans of ‘A Shabby Little Hut’ would feel a little more comfortable with The Bats contribution as that is ‘The Rock Machine’ which, while more rock orientated then some of their more commercial material, has the pop sensibilities of their hits. They returned to the heavy rock sound for the third ‘Astral Daze’ compilation with a track called ‘Stop Exchange’ which starts with a scream and quickly gets sucked into to a vortex of psychedelic rock. ‘Race With The Devil’ seems to sit slightly between the two as it has the psychedelic guitars and heavy rock beats, but has more hints of the pop to it.
So, ‘Race With The Devil’ is a track you should hear as it highlights a facet of The Bats that was maybe not so well known and reveals a band that not only has had a career almost as long as The Rolling Stones’ but was exceptionally versatile, bringing us songs of widely differing styles.
Where to find it:
Astral Daze – Various Artists, RetroFresh, (2005), FRESHCD148