View the Mobile Version of M+N

Record Reviews
Nuclear Winter

Nuclear Winter

11 Track, LP (2013, Every Night Is A Saturday Night)
Related: Batpiss.

“Move along ’cause there’s nothing to see here,” roars bassist Thomy Sloane on ‘Loose Screws’, the standout song on this glorious first Batpiss album. It’s a stock line from the popular imagination, but its appearance is newly ironic in this context. That’s because Nuclear Winter is the opposite of a record that you half-listen to before shrugging and proceeding merrily on your way. It’s loud, weird, sprawling and intensely gripping.

It’s also not afraid to be ridiculous, its whole approach balanced between brutal misshapenness and a comically exaggerated version of that. And, yes, the band are called Batpiss, lodging themselves in the proud tradition of perverse Melbourne products like Spider Vomit and Bits of Shit.

Recorded upstairs at The Tote (of course) by Nation Blue/Harmony icon Tom Lyngcoln, Nuclear Winter does do much of what you’d expect: Paul Pirie’s guitar gnashes and bashes, while bassist Sloane and drummer Marty Baker lurch around in a similarly harried state. They’re all inclined to lock into bouts of repetition that just about knock us down. Where the opening ‘Seed’ charges forward, the single ‘Drag Your Body’, well, drags – riding out a single riff to its post-apocalyptic demise.

As fun as that is, it’s not what makes this album so great. Rather, it’s all the red herrings and unannounced left turns. There’s the false ending of ‘Drag Your Body’, when that riff has slowed to a death knell; instead of finishing, the band jumps into ‘Come Here and Fuck Off’. ‘Burn Below’ spikes a perfectly gloomy anthem (“I wanna burn with the beast below/Take the easy way out”) with a droning midsection. ‘Portal’, with its great lyric “Hopeless is a word with a fucking hole in it,” is strong enough as a straight growler but is made much more intriguing when dropped to a low hum at the end. The seven-minute closer ‘Drone’ isn’t that exactly, but a gnarled, low-slung rock dirge. Still, its final minute-plus descends into a faint loop and then one last stab of screaming and playing. The bludgeoning centrepiece ‘Human’ opens with (dis)quiet calm and evokes doomsday imagery before the words even come in.

Batpiss make room for those sort of odd spaces that don’t really need to be there, and Nuclear Winter is more welcomely unreliable for it. And for all the slur-throwing effrontery and mired self-disdain (“Don’t look me in the eyes/I feel ashamed as it is”) of ‘Pigsblood’, this band aren’t only capable of self-destructing. ‘Loose Screws’ is catchy and near-poppy in its chorus (“Too many loose screws/Not enough loose change”), though it too changes shape by the end. Like his work recording Harmony’s first album, Lyngcoln sets a lot of the vocals at a remove. That makes some lyrics less intelligible, confirming the feeling that there’s only so much good words can do compared to the more proactive bashing of instruments.

That’s both the challenge and the appeal here: trying to grasp lyrics that can’t always be grasped and hold onto songs that even the band can’t (or won’t). It’s a chaotic album with increasingly more to decipher as you embrace it and engage with it. Batpiss are less likely to show their figurative hand than kick over the table and turn on us with all guns blazing. And, more often that not, suffer a horrible death that leaves us transfixed.

by Doug Wallen

Related Artists

Your Comments

mulligan  said about 2 years ago:


stirfry  said about 2 years ago:

Top review. Album is fantastic....Well done to all involved!

seahunt  said about 2 years ago:

Yeah, I dig this!

seahunt  said about 2 years ago:

Though, I'm not sure what Doug means by this ''Lyngcoln sets a lot of the vocals at a remove.''

Mess+Noise  said about 2 years ago:

I mean they sound far away, like on the Harmony album.

tenzenmen  said about 2 years ago:

song posted sounds cool

mulligan  said about 2 years ago:

Two of the Batpiss lads will be having their exhibition opening tonight at The Oldie.

Paul Pirie & Marty Baker
7pm tonight at The Old Bar

bandshirt  said about 2 months ago:

New album is bloody tops.

Ralph Malph  said about 2 months ago:

New album is bloody tops.

Yep. Album of the year contender. New songs played at Yah-Yah’s last night sound great live too.

happysnakes  said about 2 months ago:

fuckin ay. another fine job by max ducker at cellar sessions too

You need to be logged into Mess+Noise to contribute to the Releases.
Go on and Log In or if you you're not a member, feel free to Sign Up.

  • 1.   Seed
  • 2.   Drag Your Body
  • 3.   Come Here and Fuck Off
  • 4.   Burn Below
  • 5.   Hollywood
  • 6.   Human
  • 7.   Pigsblood
  • 8.   Loose Screws
  • 9.   Couldn’t Get Out
  • 10.   Portal
  • 11.   Drone
Related M+N Content
Today On Mess+Noise