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Battles - Gloss Drop CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.70 | 73 ratings

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Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Some wondered whether a Battles without Tyondai Braxton could be as good as one with him; it turns out they can. Although the absence of Tyondai is felt in the vocal department, the instrumentals here are even better than on Mirrored. In general. The replacement guest singers they use here don't add much and if anything makes the songs they appear on more mainstream and radio-friendly than anything on Mirrored. The worst song on the whole album actually features the most famous guest vocalist: Synth-Pop legend Gary Numan. I haven't heard anything he has done since the 1980s, but "My Machines" does not sound like the Battles I'm used to.

The vocal songs are clearly weaker than the instrumentals. The best of them is the single from the album, "Ice Cream." This features vocals from Chilean-born dance music producer/singer Matias Aguayo. This song is the "Atlas" of the album and like that song features electronically altered vocal effects. I didn't think much of this song the first time I watched the video, but it has grown on me. A good example of a complex yet accessible song. "Sweetie And Shag" features Japanese singer Kazu Makino from the band Blonde Redhead on vocals. I'm aware of Blonde Redhead but can't honestly say that I've heard a single song by them. This is the most accessible and mainstream sounding song on the album. It's good but hardly math rock or prog.

Last song "Sundome" features singer Yamantaka Eye from the Japanese group Boredoms. Like "Ice Cream," I didn't think too much of this song the first time I heard it. It takes awhile to get going. I like the hockey arena organ played in a reggae way. The vocals sometimes reminds me of dub. Love the synth bass which sounds dub-like. Goes into a great groove with some chant-like vocals. Nice harmonized guitars at the end. I personally think it would have been a better idea to have made a completely instrumental album. Nonetheless, both "Ice Cream" and "Sundome" are great songs. "Sweetie And Shag" is good as well, it just feels out of place here.

"Africastle" is a great opener. A very moody and mysterious beginning. This song is a great example of how to groove and be complex at the same time. I like the false endings and the build up towards the end. "Futura" almost has a Caribbean feel to it. Love how this song builds itself up and just grooves away. "Wall Street' is one of the more interesting songs and a highlight. A lot going on here and it never stays in one place for too long. "Domincan Fade" has a very Caribbean vibe to it (hence the title I guess). Nice drumming here, some of which sounds electronic. Less than 2 minutes but one of the better songs. "Rolls Bayce" starts off reminding me that even in 2011 you can still create an awesome aural experience with the very stereo seperated and dynamic beginning. This song is another short but sweet number.

Apart from the vocals this does sound like the follow-up to Mirrored, which I thought was a breath of fresh air. You get the same playful math rock with the same electronically altered effects. It's surprising how much you don't miss Tyondai here. But I still think this would have made a better instrumental album. The best instrumentals here are terrific examples of what "progressive rock" sounds like in 2011. My final verdict would be a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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