Killer garage duo Bat Fangs exist for precisely two reasons. One, Ex Hex bassist Betsy Wright and Flesh Wounds drummer Laura King were in the off-seasons of their usual projects and wanted to collab. And two, to quote Wright, “Who doesn’t love monsters?”
Stirring up a concoction of eerie psychedelia, the new project’s debut album takes inspiration from songs like “The Monster Mash” and “Mr. Crowley” while combining Ex Hex’s and Flesh Wounds’ raucous sensibilities. Lyrically, the spookiness shines through on songs like “Wolfbite” and “Fangs Out.” Sonically, Bat Fangs is just a pure rager.
“We met when Ex Hex was playing a few shows with Mac Macaughan’s (Superchunk) solo project, The Non-Believers,” Wright tells Vanyaland of when she first saw King. “I saw Laura play so I knew she was a badass! I was writing some songs and looking for a drummer and she was one of the people I reached out to. Her response was by far the most enthusiastic, so that was exciting, and also there was no doubt she was a great drummer. We jammed a lot on parts of songs that I had, and then arranged some stuff together and eventually had enough stuff to record.“
While King kept her role as drummer, Wright stepped up as lead guitarist and vocalist for the group. After playing bass with Ex Hex and doing some of their lead vox, Wright happily adjusted to center stage.
“We definitely did not have a hard time recording and writing with only two people — in fact it was probably easier than doing it with more people. Live we have a bass player to fill out the sound,” Wright says. “[Playing in Bat Fangs] been fun but a little more challenging since I have a lot more to worry about with guitar solos and then jumping in singing. I sing leads on a few Ex Hex songs so I was used that.“
The new formula not only works, but slices through the monotony of modern rock with each strategically sharpened track, jagged with off-the-wall energy and mystical motifs. Wright chalks the success up to her natural chemistry with King. “This definitely never would have happened had I not met Laura — once we got together our creativity flowed and it was only a few months before we were heading to the studio,” she adds.