The Bats, ‘The Guilty Office’ (Hidden Agenda/Parasol)
Old Faithful probably covets the Bats’ consistency. Over six albums, plus a ten-year hiatus, the New Zealand foursome, led by singer-guitarist Robert Scott, haven’t let anything alter their ambling jangle pop. Thus, The Guilty Office recalls its predecessors, with better engineering focusing the details: layered violins on “Two Lines,” the softly brushed drums behind “Broken Path,” guitarist Kaye Woodward’s cradling backing vocals. It’s comfort music touched by human frailty, by a group that’s outlasted the icons they’ve influenced, from Pavement to Belle and Sebastian.