Bat and Ball ‘It Goes In’
I left my phone in the green room of The Old Blue Last yesterday evening, which meant I spent an entire 13 (!) hours without access to social media, my emails, calls, or texts. Once that umbilical connection had been severed, I was surprised by how often my hands would wander to my lonesome pocket; waiting for the train, brushing my teeth, first thing in the morning…I am well and truly an addict. An enormous part of my phone addiction is a response to my own social anxiety – specifically the fear of catching someones eye on the tube or them thinking I’m weird if I’m just sat there doing nothing. Contrary to this, my partner has often pointed out that people think I’m weird if I sit on my phone in social situations (I’m beginning to think that maybe people will think I’m weird no matter what I do). Whilst social anxiety plays a role in my phone use, it is actually a thirst for information that is my main driver. I love reading things and looking at things. That might sound basic (because it is), but I’m pretty sure most humans also enjoy looking at things. I like reading articles on Wikipedia, or scrolling through stupid memes on Instagram – very little of my social media use is driven by self consciousness or vanity, as many ‘experts’ on the millennial condition would suggest. I care very little about notifications, or likes, or ‘hearts’, or retweets – but I do care a lot about a constant stream of information – instant gratification. I actually think that is why the majority of adult social media addicts are compelled to check their phones every five minutes – they aren’t worried about whether their new profile picture has been liked, but, much like a gambling addict or an alcoholic, they crave the instant gratification of refreshing their news feed to find (you guessed it) news – or at least new information of some description. Star of Parks and Recreation and Master Of None creator Aziz Ansari recently vowed to go completely analogue to try and deal with this kind of social media addiction, and I’m sure he will lead many into a kind of analogue renaissance where everyone sends letters and agrees to meet up at a time and place and actually somehow meet? I don’t know how it works either. Whilst I’m not going cold turkey, I can certainly see the benefits of switching off every now and then – already that feeling of general anxiety that we all have these days is starting to subside. Speaking of anxiety, the new single ‘It Goes In‘ from Bat and Ball is all about the A-word, melding schizophrenic whispers with distorted percussion to create an unsettling syncopated rhythm. The sound of digital interference is ever present in the lo fi soundworld as lead singer Abi Sinclair compares anxiety to a sexual assault on the body, by the body, singing ‘And it goes in to your head/And it worms in every hole/even your body betrays you’. Uneasy listening for an uneasy subject, Bat and Ball have taken the fear and helplessness associated with an anxiety attack and re-packaged it into a complex and thoughtful soundscape.