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.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, review, Tyondai Braxton,  More more >
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