Bat Fangs is a shiny new rock duo featuring singer-guitarist Betsy Wright of Washington’s Ex Hex and drummer Laura King of North Carolina’s Flesh Wounds. But if you think you’ve heard this band’s music before, you have. And you haven’t.
Yes, Wright’s guitar phrases can resemble those of the Cars, or Heart, or Thin Lizzy or Joan Jett — but they’re ultimately Bat Fangs riffs. (And they rip.) Her lyrics, though? A few are out on loan from the great rock-and-roll songbook — tiny snippets of words that Tom Petty, or Debbie Harry or James Hetfield may have mewled, or purred or growled once upon a time. What’s going on here?
“I think if you’re gonna play this kind of music, you can’t pretend like you made it up,” Wright says. “A new idea that came in with hip-hop was that borrowing things was okay, and I think it’s kind of cool to bring that into rock-and-roll. And maybe it’s not new. I’m thinking of, like, Eddie Money singing ‘Take Me Home Tonight,’ and then he brings a Ronette in there.”
So when Money and Ronnie Spector ruled the radio waves back in 1986, we were hearing not only some artful postmodern mix-and-matching, but maybe even a paranormal event? Obviously, Wright is listening with the entirety of her imagination — and we would be smart to listen to Bat Fangs the same way. This isn’t rock-and-roll revivalism, revisionism or reanimation. It’s metaphysical inheritance cranked up to 11.
Show: Feb. 9 at 10 p.m. at Comet Ping Pong, 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW. $12.