For those searching for an alternative history to the makeup-caked, feather-tressed hair bands who commandeered ladies’ fashion three decades ago in the interest of then exploiting said ladies, look no further than Bat Fangs.
Fresh off the debut and lengthy tour of her latest band, Ex Hex, Betsy Wright teams up with Chapel Hill, NC local music stalwart Laura King on drums as the straight-ahead rock and roll duo Bat Fangs. While their self-titled debut is entirely an exercise in derivation of glam rock, metal, and power pop days of yore, Wright and King play it so poker-faced they never approach homage territory, let alone parody.
As a natural extension of Ex Hex’s power pop and King’s garage rock history in local scene bands The Moaners and Flesh Wounds, Bat Fangs conjures up a hellacious racket stuffed full of as many whipsmart hooks and neck-jerking solos its 25 judicious minutes can hold. From opener “Turn It Up”s insistence to do just that while flippantly declaring “I don’t care if you stay” and “Boy of Summer”s lightning bolt to the arse solo to the Sabbath-tinged stomp of “Wolfbite” and breakneck waves of closer “Fangs Out”, not a moment is weak or wasted.
Something as antiquated as occult-themed rock and roll nowadays is rife with the potential for pretense, self-consciousness, and idiocy, yet Wright and King find the sweet spot on that bell curve between the poles of intentional satire and hammy, unintentional self-parody. The duo doesn’t blink through their clear commitment to their ethos while also not exuding an ounce of self-seriousness.
“Fun” is often reserved as the consolation prize of adjectives for those albums that don’t cut some sort of arbitrary artistic muster, but fuckin’ a, Bat Fangs is FUN. And unlike their mascaraed male forbears, their fun comes without the self-ordained entitlement of being chauvinistic pricks.