The music of Numb Bats is a little like surf rock, one could say, if the waves that were being surfed upon were made of grease and glue. It’s punk rock dumped in a Gatorade cooler of molasses.
Numb Bats is a three-piece all-girl group from Phoenix, Arizona where the sun shines harshly seven days a week. Mo Neuharth whacks on the kit, Sophie Opich makes the bass tremble and Emily Hobeheidar croons in the dark. All their voices are heard, though, piping up in the background.
On July 14, on their Bandcamp page, Numb Bats self-released their new 6-track EP, Bees & Trees. The collection opens with “Runnin,” a side-winding slog of sleepy-eyed punk with reverb that washes through the sewers and drains. The second song, “Rainbow,” begins with dreamy arousal then wades into an ascending drum punch.
Bees & Trees, their second EP, is the follow-up to last year’s full-length album, Gentle Horror. It’s hot and it’s humid. The structure of these songs is very disorderly, thrown-against-the-wall and unpredictable. They fill in the spaces where the song loses steam with a heavy fog of languorous drone. This is what it feels like to live and breathe in hundred-plus degree heat.
And the temperature continues to rise with “Then I Went To The Refrigerator.” The strands of feedback come together slowly. It’s the score to a house without air conditioning, the sound of your heavy eyelids deflecting the sun. It picks up, rupturing into Ren & Stimpy punk, before falling under again.
Hobeheidar snarls and barks from the quicksand on “U R A WINNER.” “I feel so weird inside,” she intones again and again against a fire-pit pounding drum cycle. She sounds fed-up and bleary, caught in a downturn. But, all ends in fairness with a cheeky shout-out from all the girls singing and laughing, “You are a winner!”
The most distinguished song here is the longest. “Dog Poncho,” over five minutes, opens with voices in motion like a mirage on the distant highway. Steady thread of junkie guitar and effects that move from ear to ear like a wasp move the track along. It waltzes and loops through shifting bridges before crumbling into something that sounds like the B-52’s after huffing a fair amount of rubber cement.
Easy comparisons would be Dum Dum Girls or a less buzzy and distorted Raveonettes. But there is definitely a heavier DIY appeal and a bouncier bubblegum attitude. They’re definitely sculpting their own post-rock sound.
The looseness and fragility on Bees & Trees is part of its charm, but is also a reminder that Numb Bats’ best work could be stuck up in the pipes somewhere, ready to spill out. The group are currently skinning the west half of the country on tour. Find them.