BATTS - The Grand Tour - Album Review

Drawing inspiration and samples from NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft missions, comes BATTS’ debut album, 'The Grand Tour'.

review by: Megan Henderson

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Album Review

“..clever and accurate lyrics paint a series of very vivid images in the listener’s mind..”

The album is designed to take the listener on a journey through space, with the use of authentic samples received directly through correspondence with NASA officials. The samples, paired with BATTS' vocals and smooth, mellow production, make for a really nicely shaped piece of work. Being a conceptual album, BATTS suggests it be listened to in full, in chronological order, to fully reap the benefits of this journey she has so carefully constructed.

‘Solid’ Artwork

‘Solid’ Artwork

‘The Grand Tour’ explores feelings of anger and resentment, with titles such as 'Waste of My Time' and 'Overstayed Your Welcome', and the concept of trying to moving on, but feeling no progress with 'Folding Chairs'. BATTS' clever and accurate lyrics paint a series of very vivid images in the listener’s mind, with subtle musical references also laid throughout the album. Bon Iver and Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve cop mentions if you listen closely.

The introduction to the album and the perfectly placed interlude heavily rely on samples of early voice recordings from the Voyager 1 and 2 missions. Upon listening to these voice recordings and absorbing what they depict, the listener will be left inspired and in awe of the wonders of the world we live in. This, paired with the poignancy of BATTS' production, creates a transformative listening experience. The NASA voice recordings used on the album tell the listener about 'Golden Discs' contained in the Voyager 2 spacecraft. These discs hold information intended for extraterrestrial beings, or future humans, that aim to explain life on Earth as we know it. It’s a time capsule of sorts, and exists to assist and educate these future beings on the chance they stumble upon the spacecraft on their own journeys through Interstellar space. Once you've wrapped your head around this incredible concept, the listening experience is all the more intriguing.

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BATTS creatively employs the Interstellar sounds to completely change the tone of the album multiple times throughout. We are taken from mesmerizing interludes that almost bring the album to a stand still, to upbeat tracks like 'Shame', that make us want to dance. It would be an interesting album to see performed, with endless possibilities for live execution. Listening to the album in full allows your mind to wander into a series of vivid worlds both on and off this planet, which BATTS has so cleverly and selflessly created. This album may be about her own personal stories and experiences, but is just as much, if not more, about the listener's journey when consuming and absorbing the album. It is a complete and fulfilling piece of art that pays homage to both the human experience, and the world that exists beyond it.

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