The Grand Tour is the debut album from BATTS and it’s eleven tracks chase a highly ambitious concept. The album is an artistic reflection of the journey of the Voyager 1’s journey from earth, up until it’s crossing into interstellar space in 2012.
The intro to the album samples voices from the time of launch of the voyager, before launching into the opening tack Mars. Musically, Mars’ relaxed guitar and catchy baseline does seem to have a sense of adventure, or at least hopefulness. Though, the lyrics are a lament on ‘missing human touch’ from a lover, who might as well be ‘live on Mars’. These lyrics set the tone for the rest of the album, that plunge into sadness throughout.
‘Don’t treat me like you do’ is the first taste of how despairing this journey BATTS wants to take her listeners on may get, the production is stripped back, and her voice is chillingly pretty, as she ruminates on a doomed relationship. We then move into ‘Little White Lies’, whose gentle, rocking beat does feel like you’re slowly trudging along by yourself, this track also features a bubbly little sound from the voyager that works awesomely with the music, my favourite example of the super creative use of actual voyager samples that are intertwined throughout the music on the album.
After an interlude of the same vein as intro, the album picks up the tempo a bit on the super catchy track ‘Shame’, before crashing back into solemnity on the beautifully simple ‘Folding Chairs’, this is a personal highlight. The lyrics sound so deeply personal, yet parallel this concept of the voyager so poignantly, whose mission is doomed to never end.
The album captures a solemn sense of melancholic beauty, told through seemingly personal stories, though with the overarching theme in mind they take on a higher poignancy and richer meaning.
The Grand Tour is out April 12.
Reviewed by Liam McNally