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Album Review
Why We Can't Be Together

Why We Can't Be Together
by Batrider


Review Date
14th October 2009
Reviewed by
Courtney Sanders

“Like how some people don’t talk sense and don’t care what you say so long as you have breasts and a mouth.”

That little ditty is an excerpt from the splash page and is accompanied by one of those obscure hair-slash-skin images that look disgusting and rude even though it’s probably just hair on somebody’s shoulder or a close- up of a monkey or something. The two combined is confrontational, a little grotesque and ultimately fairly assaulting. And this is exactly who Batrider are and how they realize musically and thematically on album Why We Can’t Be Together. ‘Homie Gnomie’, track two and initially the most memorable, is a Patti Smith spat/spoken post-feminist rhetoric with minimal musical base atop which sits a raspy, angry and downright honest vocal, talking about, well, some other girl: “Such a boring story, from a boring life / About a boring girl, who’ll make a boring wife / You’re in danger of becoming all you hate / Oh wait it’s happening, oh wait it has, too late.” Such a crazy-intense message broken only by a doppleganging drummer and tambourinist. Singer Sarah Chadwick’s voice appropriately begins to drown in a pool of drone on the next track, murkily bubbling this: “I’ll never be the one that I’m supposed to be”. Track four is classic Batrider at it’s best with drizzling “ha-ha-ha’s” complimenting a jangly 80’s alternative guitar, which, accompanied by many a feedback and high hat moment, sees Why we can’t be together out.

Now Batrider are actually an ex- Wellington (by a good few years now) band and have been doing their thing in London by way of Adelaide and Melbourne for a awhile now with the odd appearance at Camp A Low Hum's over the years. Having been fortunate enough to see them twice at said event, they purport an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude that their sound definitely backs up. BUT, there’s an underlying intensity in both their live performance – the closing of eyes at a particular moment, or the shrill vocal that’s not quite a word at the end of a song or chorus, or the slapping of a tambourine slightly too hard against ones leg – that – and translated onto record, that make Batrider solid and brilliant, and systematically and consistently better than their lo-fi girliness peers. Like their alternative Godfathers - Sonic Youth - Batrider have delivered a new release that reinvigorates their backcatalogue, and, unlike their newer and younger contemporaries, hits the nail of disassociation with modern life and all things gender specific firmly on the head and drives that coffin down down down into the caverns of powerful alternative rock.

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