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Battles - La Di Da Di CD (album) cover

LA DI DA DI

Battles

Post Rock/Math rock


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LearsFool
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars In which Battles channel Ratatat and Jaga Jazzist.

The general course of Battles's career has been a flashy march towards ever greater grooviness, so that for what "La Di Da Di" lacks in impact it makes up for in sheer joy. As it turns out, the willingness to let "Gloss Drop" be worked over by remixers as "Dross Glop" was a signal that they were ready to follow Jaga into the realm of electronic jam prog. If you dig that kind of fun, and don't mind it not having the experimental edge of Jaga or "Mirrored", then you're in for a treat. The groove picks up right from the start and never lets go. The math they codified on "Mirrored" is now more than ever electronically modified and adjoined, not for purposes of misplaced perfectionism but of finding new sounds and building jams. And never has the angular side of math sounded so right. This is nothing short of a ball, and I had no choice but to round up to five stars.

Report this review (#1472246)
Posted Saturday, October 3, 2015 | Review Permalink
Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What a pleasure to hear something new and original. As with all new music, it isn't as if this trio is doing something truly unique; they simply compose music with the tools they know and understand. No, what sets these three apart is their attitude-- that's what makes Battles so interesting and what makes this third studio issue so very listenable, even exciting. The band tends to end up in the 'Indie' category, which is fine, as Battles are wholly independent. They are real artists.

The sound of Chiptune is ever present, the band generating waveforms marbled through hard rock with complete abandonment of any established approach, metastasizing a mix that will hit on a particular style without any allegiance to it. Only nominally "Postrock", these guys don't care and you gotta love that. If it were the late '70s, Stanier, Williams and Konopka would probably be a punk group. Cosmic dust morphs into blurpie trance for 'The Yabba' with vintage subspace nebulas and textured guitar calliopes, and 'Dot Net' is high-end squeak & Skweee showcasing the bangin' traps of John Stanier.

A little Surf opens 'FF Bada' reminding now & then of Tortoise, 'Cacio E Pepe' is industrial, and 'Non-Violence' rocks. Battles create paintings in sound and require some space to do so. Like good cheese or wine, they have to come to room temperature and begin to breathe in order for the flavors to bloom and be fully appreciated. 'Dot Com' is John Carpenter meets Blondie, 'Tricentennial' has Ian Williams' delicious vibrating-iron guitars, Glitch of 'Megatouch', and adorable 'Luu Le' make for one incredible musical statement.

A band that will surely go down as one of the best of the Post era though their legend may take a few more years to solidify, and in the wake of Hip hop's possession of popular music, Battles are one of the most fresh and bold of this fascinating and marginalized time in rock. A masterpiece of progressive rock music? You better believe it.

Report this review (#1518728)
Posted Sunday, January 24, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Battles are perhaps the most original and fresh rock band I've heard in the last few years, and this extends easily to La Di Da Di. Characteristic for the band and particularly this album is the combination of electronic loops with very energetic but still precise drumming, which means that the whole thing is dominated by rhythm and a very physical affair. La Di Da Di has a bright summery feel and should put a smile on your face. It's all instrumental. It's also quite addictive. At the moment I get more and more into the state that I want to listen to this again and again. It's just the kind of music that in certain (rather light-hearted) phases of life can become a persistent feature. Yeah, let's listen to Battles once more. It wasn't exactly love at first sight, and I can still see certain flaws in this. There isn't much fascinating melody to follow here; much of the melodic material has a rather repetitive merry-go-round kind of style, and often presented in a percussive attitude that makes it rather part of the overall rhythmic stream than something to appreciate on its own, and it depends on the mood to what extent this is rather part of the fun or rather a defect. Many of the tracks follow a similar recipe (there are some different degrees of drum dominance and intensity, though), although in exchange, at times we get some unexpected twists within the same song, and the dynamic is strong throughout.

Overall it's not perfect and I could see some potential for broadening the approach of the band, but this doesn't take away from the freshness and fun.

Report this review (#1588985)
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2016 | Review Permalink

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