JUNE EXPOSURE – Screech Bats

Screech Bats, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar – Brighton, 24.04.2018 Photo Credit: Charlotte Hall

Time and time again the music universe has proved that sometimes it’s the Plan B projects that really pack a punch.

When Kit Reeves and Lexi Clark were members of melodic punk-rock band Hearts Under Fire, they joined forces with bassist Rio Hellyer and vocalist Esme Baker to start a side band.

What they found was that the side project worked. All four musicians shared a dedicated enthusiasm to both music and, frankly, having a laugh.

Once Hearts Under Fire went on hiatus, Screech Bats was born.

The name alone – Screech Bats – is perfect. It’s so good that it’s almost a shock that nobody else had it before.

And thank fuck for that because nothing would make more sense for this London quartet, who grace stages across the capital every night to make as much noise as possible.

Besides, it also means that Screech Bats can have a Facebook Bio that simply reads “BAT. SHIT. CRAZY.” and if you can’t appreciate that then you can’t be helped.

afterLIVE were lucky enough to welcome Screech Bats to Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar for the fifth afterLIVE LIVE and we were blown away by their forcefully striking set.

Screech Bats, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar – Brighton, 27.03.2018 Photo Credit: Charlotte Hall

Up on the Brighton stage Screech Bats delivered a mighty formidable set and did it with a level of rough bravura that you just don’t find every day.

Three days later they released their sophomore EP, Wish You Were Her – the grungier, murkier, heart-on-sleeve sibling to their 2016 self-titled offering.

Recorded in Blackpool with James Routh of Sonic Boom Six, Wish You Were Her sets out to talk about real, often negative, life events and drag out the optimism within them, as Esme explains:

“It’s about women who have, for entirely different reasons, had a profound impact on my life, but are no longer in it. Most of the lyrics are drawn from real experiences and on the whole we want to make dark, often ‘taboo’ topics, approachable with a positive message.”

Recognising women for a plethora of reasons is a powerful statement, and so is using half a female face as your EP artwork – but that’s about as far as Screech Bats will allow gender to define them.

The four musicians each have vexing stories to tell about being asked whose girlfriends they are or being announced as “the stripper” when arriving at a venue for load in.

The fact is that these events aren’t rare and Screech Bats aren’t about to accept them:

“It’s awful – we are not a ‘girl band’ just because none of us have penises” explains Esme.

“In our opinion, the whole industry needs to stop seeing gender as a genre – we need to see a shift towards just listening to the music, not having to consider what it is we have between our legs.”

With EPs as creatively significant as Wish You Were Her and a live show with all the grunge defiance and punk assertiveness you could ask for – Screech Bats will be at the forefront of ensuring that shift happens.


Screech Bats, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar – Brighton, 24.04.2018 Photo Credit: Charlotte Hall