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Battles - Mirrored CD (album) cover

MIRRORED

Battles

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.79 | 112 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

brainerd
4 stars Progressive Rock in the purest sense of the term.

While I was initially sceptical when I first heard about this band (acclaim from hipster publications and mainstream press is rarely justified); but from the first time I heard 'Atlas' I was utterly convinced tht these weren't another bunch of preening hipsters. I had heard nothing like it before, and while there are hints of Don Caballero-esque math-Rock and nods to the vintage bands of the 70s and 'Discipline' era King Crimson, Battles' sound is very much their own.

Although this group are often criticized fo having a 'cold' or 'robotic' feel I find that the sheer joy of creating music as a tight unit and the desire to innovate shine through the bands playing. The album is admittedly incredibly inorganic. You get the impression that every note and studio effect is placed immaculately. The vocals are processed heavily throughout; there are very few instances where you get an idea of what Tyondai Braxton's voice actually sounds like ('Ddiamondd' being one of these).

And though the music could be brushed off as clinical brain food I find that this is a very easy, fun album to listen to. Most of the songs on Mirrored are filled with catchy melodies and rhythms, the aforementioned 'Atlas' being the prime example of having both of these aspects. 'Leyendecker' even reminds me of modern pop "RnB" songs (turned incredibly weird though). It's very hard not to incessantly nod your head or tap your foot when hearing songs like 'Tonto' and 'Tij' making it hard to listen to in public...

While all members show impressive skill and prescision on multiple instruments the real star of this band for me is veteran drummer John Stanier, whose sometimes simplistic but always powerful drum patterns are the solid foundation on which the other members' interlocking guitar/keyboard/bass patternsare based.

Not every track is a winner however, though. The album kind of trails off after the mid-point song 'Rainbow' (the most 'prog' tune on the album). 'Prismism' at 52 seconds is not long enough to be of any value but is just the right length to be an annoying distraction. 'Bad Trails' provides a relief from the more energetic songs but is too half-formed to really grab attention.

While the band aren't quite there yet, I feel like they have the potential to write a classic album. I would reccommend this band to anyone looking for something wildly different but still easily listenable in the genre of Math-Rock and fans of electronica Krautrock and more adventurous fans of Gentle Giant and King Crimson.

brainerd | 4/5 |

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