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Battles - Mirrored CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.82 | 130 ratings

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4 stars I really love the general sound present on this album, taking math rock, and then making it extremely playful and fun, in the process also making it an easy listen, despite the technicality present here. As with standard math rock, odd time signatures and changes are abundant, but the extremely happy, playful edge that they have, along with the mostly entertaining vocals make this an easy album to get into. It's clear that each member of the band knows what they're doing, as the interplay between them along with the various techniques that are applied to each song make this quite diverse and impressive. What further makes this a unique experience is the extra effects that are used quite tastefully, almost always sounding they have a real purpose to enhance the song, rather than being tacked on.

'Race : In' and 'Atlas' start off the album with an impressive one-two punch, 'Race : In' showing off various techniques to be used throughout, most notably the prominence of the keyboard in the sound of the band, along with the fast paced drumming and generally chaotic, yet extremely calculated approach that many songs here have. 'Atlas' is the song that essentially sums up the entire album, having an extremely groovy beat, with a wonderfully happy sound all around, with some high pitched, altered vocals further pushing this tone, making it seem like no wonder that this song was included as part of the 'Little Big Planet' soundtrack. 'Ddiamondd' serves as the best of the shorter tracks on the album, taking the quirky vocals to another level, with sounds of clapping and whistling that slowly morph into what sound like sirens only adding to the weirdness of this song. The longer songs on the album are really where I feel this album shines, being able to extend particular grooves and ideas to their logical conclusions, with 'Tonto' being a prime example of this. This song stands out to me for that constant underlying bassline that works perfectly with the great vocal melody and small jams. They then bring attention to this by having it not appear in the middle section, giving it a slightly emptier feel to it, that then is removed once it is reintroduced, and then gradually slows down, each note becoming more drawn out. The compositions on this album have many complexities such as this, making it a great album to look at in more detail as well as just for a fun listen. 'Rainbow' is another song fully demonstrating this, starting off with the melody from 'Ddiamondd' before gradually building up and becoming slightly abrasive at points, repeating themes but adding small elements to it with each occurrence of repetition. The way this crescendo then dies down and once again gradually picks up is quite impressive as well. The final song really worth talking about is 'Tij', which is the song that wears its complexity on its sleeve in many places, utilising looping techniques to create some truly wonderful motifs, along with further proving just how many tricks 'Battles' can apply, having these longer songs serve as showcases for said techniques.

My issues with the album are mostly small and inconsequential, but there is one that definitely adds up to have me consider this far from a perfect experience. My main issue is that the album is somewhat inconsistent, with some shorter tracks being quite lacklustre or just straight up bad, with 'Bad Trails' being pleasant, yet ultimately dull and repetitive, and 'Leyendecker' sounding straight up terrible, with the vocals being incredibly obnoxious, somewhat breaking the amazing flow that the album has for its majority.

I simply adore how fun this album is, each big song using various techniques with high skill, while always keeping an extremely playful tone to them. I love how this is simultaneously an extremely fun album to casually listen to, and one that is great to sit down and analyse. I highly recommend this to basically anyone who enjoys some lighter, fun music, after all, a track from it was in Little Big Planet, so I doubt it would scare too many people away.

Best Tracks: Atlas, Tonto, Tij, Race : In

Weakest Tracks: Leyendecker, Bad Trails

Verdict: It's math rock, but fun and accessible, and is an album that I recommend most people to listen to as long as they aren't looking for anything particularly intense, despite a couple of poor tracks.

Kempokid | 4/5 |


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