Battles | Gloss Drop

Warp (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  June 7, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

New album from Battles.

In an twist of musical irony, the New York nutsos in Battles lose their most prominent member — vocalist/guitarist/sound manipulator Tyondai Braxton — and end up sounding more like an actual band. The slap-happy math-rock ambience and Looney Toons–ish effects-pedal giddiness of Mirrored, their critically worshipped debut, remain intact, but these arrangements feel less choppy and more fully developed. Gloss Drop is another infectious, drug-induced carousel ride in which electric guitars sound like short-circuiting circus organs and drums punch through the mix like atom bombs — but there's a distinctly multi-cultural vibe here, as on opener "Africastle," which builds from Old West atmospherics into a thunderous cacophony of African rhythms. And though Braxton's lunatic loop-station vocals are missed, the eclectic guest stars — including Boredoms vocalist Yamantaka Eye and Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino — fill the void nicely. (Personally, I could have done with more Gary Numan on the pummeling "My Machines.") Mirrored kicked ass from start to finish, yet it often came across like a series of excellent (if unfinished) loops. Ever-shifting numbers like "Inchworm," a possible soundtrack to Willy Wonka's psychedelic canoe voyage through hell, always feel like they're headed somewhere. Funky in only the most fucked-up ways, this is world music from another world.
Related: Beady Eye | Different Gear, Still Speeding, Kurt Vile | Smoke Ring For My Halo, Radiohead | The King of Limbs, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, review, Tyondai Braxton,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WAVVES | AFRAID OF HEIGHTS  |  March 18, 2013
    "I Can't Dream," the closer on Wavves' fourth studio album, opens in a drunken lo-fi stupor — Nathan Williams warbling bratty, tone-deaf nonsense over hissy acoustic power chords.
  •   THE VIRGINS | STRIKE GENTLY  |  March 06, 2013
    After a half-decade of semi-obscurity, frontman Donald Cumming is redefining his band as the hipster sultans of swing.
  •   ATOMS FOR PEACE | AMOK  |  February 26, 2013
    Kid A , Radiohead's confounding electro-rock masterpiece, is officially hitting puberty.
  •   ATLAS GENIUS | WHEN IT WAS NOW  |  February 20, 2013
    Atlas Genius are schooled students of modern pop architecture, seamlessly bouncing from Coldplay-styled acoustic rock to fizzy Phoenix funkiness to deadpanned Strokes-ian guitar chug. But When It Was Now is more like an alt-pop NOW compilation than a joyous synthesis.
  •   FOALS | HOLY FIRE  |  February 11, 2013
    Even at their most expansive, Foals are digging into more primal territory.

 See all articles by: RYAN REED