• Bonnie Spain

TRACK FEATURE: 'Swamp Fever' by Black Bats

'Swamp Fever', Black Bats most recent release, is a sultry fever dream, enrobed by the anxiety of the unknown. It’s dark and gritty, but goddamn is it so sexy. The third single off their upcoming album 'Psychic Retreat', Black Bats takes your hand and guides you through the song, and you don’t feel the same at the other end of it.


Knowing nothing about Black Bats or what 'Swamp Fever' is about, it is immediate to the listener the feeling the track is representing. It evokes the sense of being trapped in a hot, humid room late at night, anxiety consuming your brain as the constant attempts at falling asleep keep failing. Listening to the song, you can feel the sweat on your brow and imagine the condensation coming down the window, all while you are hearing the chittering of critters in the night. The psych guitar encapsulates that entire state of being, with the organs enriching the song and adding a sensual, almost erotic sensation to the track.

Black Bats enters a few realms, pulling influence from garage, psych rock and western, culminating in this melancholic sound that marries together these influences perfectly. Discussing the track with lead singer David Houston, he stated “Initially this song was a semi-throw away surf song, something that we thought that it was a bit of a bonus, but we might not use it for the album. Then when it came to doing the bass and the overdub for the album, started to think that I should really do something with this song. I grabbed all the surf guitar, added organ to it and that changed the song entirely. I pulled back all the guitar and made it a predominately bass and organ song. It ended up being a completely different song in the end.”


The track is different from what Black Bats have written before and is a starkly different song on the album as well. Seven Day Blues and Mild Heat, the first two singles off their forthcoming album 'Psychic Retreat', are heavily guitar driven, evocative of the garage and psych rock they draw influence from. The introduction of an organ to the song is something very different, more macabre compared to their previous songs. The deep, almost sensual vocals hit a much different place than they usually do, helping you delve into that dark, haunting place that this track guides you into.

'Swamp Fever', as previously mentioned, is the third single off their second album, 'Psychic Retreat', which will be released by Cactus Records. “We have had this album done and dusted since March, and we were planning on releasing it around June/July.” Says Dave, “With everything happening, we decided to wait until we could play live gigs again but unfortunately, that still hasn’t been able to happen.” “Some bands are thinking ‘now’s a better time than ever to get music out’ but we can’t do live shows to support it. We don’t want it to disappear into the ether.”


'Swamp Fever' is a fantastic tease to their forthcoming album, which is tentatively waiting to be released. “At the moment we are waiting on the vinyl. If we get it soon, we will be releasing it as soon as we can. If we have to wait a bit longer for it, then it may not be until next year.” 'Psychic Retreat' will be an album to stay on high alert for, as I believe it will be well worth the wait. In the meantime, the singles, including 'Swamp Fever' off the album are available to listen to on Spotify and Bandcamp via Cactus Records.

You can keep up to date on their Facebook here,

and on Instagram @_blackbats

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covering local Melbourne music since 2017.