ROCK

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music -

Mir­rored Bat­tles Warp/ In­er­tia WITH three EPs and four years of tour­ing be­hind them, Amer­i­can band Bat­tles have fi­nally re­leased their de­but album. By up­ping the vol­ume and ditch­ing min­i­mal­ism, their polyrhyth­mic rock has grown more vis­ceral and mus­cu­lar with­out be­com­ing bru­tal. Vo­cals ( as well as gui­tar and lap­top) by Tyondai Brax­ton ( son of An­thony Brax­ton) have made an enor­mous con­tri­bu­tion. Though dig­i­talised be­yond recog­nis­able lyrics, th­ese sounds act as an ad­di­tional in­stru­ment and push the band into in­no­va­tive shapes and re­sponses. While exHel­met drum­mer John Stanier lays down ex­pan­sive rhyth­mic pat­terns, Ian Wil­lams ( ex- Don Ca­ballero) and Dave Konopka ( exL­ynx) weave gui­tar and key­boards in, out, up, down and all around. By for­go­ing ob­tuse time- sig­na­ture changes in pref­er­ence for ad­dic­tive or­ganic mo­men­tum, Bat­tles re­main tight as a fist. Their pre­cise mu­si­cian­ship may lend an air of prog rock, but the groove achieved un­der­mines any chance of chin stroking. As a truly mod­ern band should, Bat­tles in­clude el­e­ments of jazz, rock and elec­tron­ica but man­age to sound like noth­ing that’s come be­fore.

Sean Rabin

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