Continuing my endeavor into the psychobilly genre, tonight I’ll be listening to Batmobile, which is a psychobilly band from the Netherlands that was formed in 1983. The original lineup still performs together to this day. The psychobilly scene was growing quite large in the United Kingdom during the 1980s, and Batmobile was the first group to perform at the Klub Foot venue that didn’t originate from the UK. This album, Bail Was Set At $6,000,000 (1988), is the group’s fourth studio album, and though I can’t find much information on the album, it seems to well-liked by folks on different Internet forums. I’m pretty stoked to give this album a listen, so with that said, I’m going to jump on into the music.
“Kiss Me Now” starts with a big, distorted wave of what sound like garage rock guitar chords with a bit of a surf rock beat. The sound of the track really does feel like a strange combination of rockabilly and punk rock, which somehow takes on a sort of garage rock and surf rock presentation that I’m really digging. I really dig the spring reverb on the guitar in this track. The vocals have a really high energy to them that has that sort of high-octane garage rock sound from the late 1960s. Great track, and I’m excited to hear more.
“Magic Word Called Love” gets grooving with some quick, somewhat tense guitar lines that seems to fall into the punk rock side of the psychobilly spectrum. Holy smokes, there are some really groovy licks in this track that really pull me into the listening experience. The bass and drums sort of remind me of the album, Wall of Flowers (2019), by Mike Baggetta, Jim Keltner, and Mike Watt that I listened to last year, almost with a sort of tight, jazz-inflected punk sound. Great track.
Oh wow, “Can’t Find My Way Back Home” starts out with some classic rockabilly sounds with the sort of chicken picking and spring reverb in the guitar. The vocals have a sort of tight, high energy sound infused to the classic rockabilly presentation that I’m really digging. Oh wow, there’s a guitar solo in this track that actually reminded me a bit of Les Paul and Mary Ford. Super sweet track.
Oh wow, “Mystery Street” starts out with some high-octane energy in the guitar work that’s presented with a distorted surf rock sound, while the drums seem to amplify the energy even more with the tight, chugging beat. Oh wow, the bass line is super groovy in this track and actually reminds me a bit of “An Older Man” by The Tiffany Shade, a psychedelic rock band from the 1960s. Great track.
Oh wow, “Calamity Man” starts out with some somewhat gritty, distorted guitar licks, and then drops into a super groovy, upbeat rockabilly sounding song. I really dig the spring reverb of the guitar with the sort of clacking sound in the percussion in this track. Holy smokes, there’s like some sort of distant screaming for a moment that nearly sounds like a harmonica. Oh wow, the guitar solo in this track is super intriguing as the sound evolves into some combination of rockabilly and new wave. I really dig the bass vocals that sort of coax the song along as the music continues. Great track.
“Shoot Shoot” starts out with some super groovy distorted guitar licks that seem to verge again into surf rock territory. I really dig the big, deep percussion in this track that nearly gets into a sort of primal territory with the sparse guitar during the verse. Oh wow, I really dig the guitar solo in this track, which seems to let loose with some classic psychobilly sounds of punk infused rockabilly. Oh wow, I really dig the licks in the outro of the song. Great track.
Oh wow, “Gorilla Rock” starts out with a big, primal sounding beat, which is soon joined by some punk and garage rock sounding guitar work. Oh wow, the guitar and drums almost even have a bit of a psychedelic rock sound reminiscent of groups from the 1960s like Quicksilver Messenger Service at certain times. The track changes up really nicely from tight, tense punk rock-sounding movements, and movements more on the rockabilly side of the psychobilly spectrum. Great tune.
“Gates of Heaven” gets grooving right away with some gritty guitar lines that sort of venture into surf rock sound again, while the drums almost have a bit of a new wave quality with the tight, building rhythm. Holy smokes, the guitar solo in this track had me making strange faces as I kept listening closer in a really good way. Wow, great track.
“Gorls Girls Girls” gets started with some sort of strange-sounding guitar that has a garage punk and nearly surf rock sound at the start. I really dig the syncopation in the beat in this track. Holy smokes, the guitar launches into a classic rock and roll, Chuck Berry-type solo that has pulled me even further onto the edge of my seat. Oh wow, I really dig this track. The vocals seem to pick up more and more rockabilly sound as the track continues. Great tune.
Oh wow, “Hang On” starts off with some gritty guitar licks that almost give off a sort of punk-inflected blues rock sound at first. I really dig the shouts in the background of this track. Holy smokes, the guitar never lets up for even a second. Great track.
Oh wow, “100 Pounds of Trouble” starts out with a primal sort of beat and is soon joined by some super groovy tremolo’d guitar and some self-assured-sounding vocals. The overall presence of the track reminds me a lot of “Primitive” by The Groupies, as well as the cover version by The Cramps. Holy smokes, the guitar solo in this track gets into an awesome garage rock sort of groove that harkens back to the mid-1960s, while also having a bit of rockabilly flavor at the same time. Wow, awesome track.
“Ace of Spades” begins with some tight, distorted, gritty guitar licks, and the tune band quickly launches into a gritty, garage punk rock/psychobilly cover of the track originally by Motorhead. Holy smokes, the guitar solo in this track has pulled me absolutely to the edge of my seat, while the drums, bass, and rhythm guitar seem to infuse a bit of rockabilly/psychobilly flavors during that time. Wow, the track finishes off with some super high energy. Great cover, and a great way to finish the album.
Holy smokes, this album was pretty sweet. I’m really stoked to have checked out the psychobilly genre as a whole recently, and this album seemed to be a good representation of that genre. The different flavors range from rock and roll and rockabilly, to garage rock and punk rock, with tons of energy imbued throughout the listening experience by the band. If you’re into garage rock at all and/or rockabilly and you’re looking to sort of give punk rock a try, or you’re a fan of punk rock and you’d like to dip your toes into rockabilly, then you might want to consider checking out this album. If you do decide to give this album a listen, I hope that you enjoy the listening experience at least as much as I did.