BATTS’ new album ‘The Nightline’ is poetry in motion

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BATTS’ new album ‘The Nightline’ is poetry in motion

The Nightline

“Welcome to The Nightline, please leave your confession after the tone…”

The Nightline’s opening title track was inspired by an immersive audio-theatre experience of the same name – commissioned by 2021’s RISING festival – which recomposed late-night anonymous voice messages left between the hours of midnight and 6am. 

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Grief, trauma, mental health, learning to live with chronic illness – Tanya Batt (who releases music as BATTS) documents some dark times on this album, but it’s definitely not a heavy listen. 

Our first bite from BATTS’ second record, ‘Blue’ featuring Sharon Van Etten is poetry in motion: “I feel the moon descending over backlit high rises…” – oh, how we wish the sound of their stunning voices harmonising could wake us every morning!

“All that I need right here right now, I’m with you I’ve got…” – inventive phrasing unveils a declaration of love during ‘All That I Need’ (“… right here right now, I’m with you I’ve got…”). It’s about tripping (“Let’s feel this high”), but this song also captures the euphoria of recognising a longtime crush feels the same way about you with its percolating synth and gradually intensifying, joyous arrangement. As instrumentation floats in and out – like ever-changing cloud formations, gently cradling Batt’s immaculate vocals – we feel suspended in a state of bliss. 

“London In Summer/ The happiest place in the world, just so you know/ I should feel good/ I should feel well/ I should feel something/ My god I feel like I’m in HELL” – ‘Summer In London’, with its spoken-word verses, sees Batt revisiting her childhood stomping ground. Then a repeated affirmation during the bridge (“Feeling good/ Feeling something…”) conjures up some healing energy before Batt reassures, “I think I’m doing alright,” at song’s close. 

With The Nightline, Batt says she aimed “to make a record I knew my father-in-law would’ve loved” (he passed away towards the end of 2019”) and you’d be wise to have a box of tissues within reach before digesting the softly strummed closer, ‘Keeping On’: “There’s a time and place for crying/ Not when it comes to dying/ And if I had a car I’d drive around crying/ Listening to your favourite songs/ Instead I cry on buses and trains/ Strangers ask if I’m okay…”

We’ve always wondered what Neil Diamond was referring to in his lyrics about singing “with a cry in your voice” (‘Song Sung Blue’), but now we finally get it as perfectly demonstrated by Batt! Although she never relies on excessive vibrato, we feel her sorrow deeply. 

Label: Mistletone/[PIAS]

Release date: 14 October