Thirty eight years on from their inception in Christchurch NZ, combining The Clean bassist-turned-guitarist Robert Scott, with ex-Toy Love bassist Paul Kean, guitarist Kaye Woodward and drummer Malcolm Grant, The Bats still rock that original line-up. They’ve just released their 10th album, called “Foothills”. Here’s the closing track, the glorious “Electric Sea View”:

“Electric Sea View” is everything Bats in a song. That familiar melodic chug and jangle, those vocal harmonies, a certain kind of wistful warm homeliness, and an atmosphere of subdued psychedelia hovering in the air.

That atmosphere here (and throughout the album) is largely supplied through the subtle keyboard shadings and minimalist tone soloing from Kaye Woodward’s lead guitar. Over successive albums Woodward has refined those lead guitar lines into things of Fripp-like esoteric beauty, with their thick overdriven saturation and sustain, and tiny bit of tremolo here.

“Foothills” was recorded by the band (bassist Paul Kean) in a house in the foothills of the Southern Alps in the middle of New Zealand’s South Island. As Robert Scott explains: “Many carloads arrived at the house, full of amps guitars and recording gear, we set up camp and soon made it feel like home; coloured lights, a log fire, and home cooked meals in the kitchen. We worked fast, and within a few days had all the basic backing tracks done, live together in one room, the way we like to do it – it’s all about ‘the feel’ for songs like ours.”