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AKA The Difficult Second Album. It's a potential banana skin for most, if not all bands playing music on this blue planet that we call eerrmmm... earth. It can't be avoided as it's the next number after one. Battles have also shorn a member, Tyondai Braxton having left to concentrate on his lucrative career as a stunt double for Omar Rodriguez Lopez, so you could argue that the odds are against them. Odds though like rules are made to be broken and Battles seem to have come through the melee with what is a hyperactive, undulating record. So how do you follow up a very interesting debut full-lengther? Well you could try covering the gaps left by a vacant band member...or you could try and construct a record that is quite a different proposition from the first. This newie may not have an "Atlas" but it does have a rather fine selection of dynamic, upbeat, busy songs...or compositions if you like. If you like your music a bit more straight up then you might find Battles still quite hard to get into. Their multi-layered rhythmic sound could leave you scratching your head and gently being bemused. If you are clued up and into this style of music then Gloss Drop will or could be the album you have been waiting for. The music that these guys are capable of is quite mind boggling. The rhythms and beats seem to to be at first a lot straighter, then after more listens you fully realise that there is more going on than you first expected. The guitars chime and squeal and contort. The bass fluctuates and has a real zing that is most fantastic. The vocals are also contorted, and provided by a more than capable supporting cast (Kazu Makino, Matias Aguayo, ermmm...Gary Numan!!??). The Numan track "My Machines" actually is terrific and is my personal favourite. It has many qualities does this track. As does the afrobeat-tastic "Dominican Fade". This is a band very much at the top of their game. The difficult second album? Battles, it would appear, are having none of it. They seem happy to confuse you, rock you and enthrall you in equal measure. A really interesting record and one of the best rock records you will hear this year...until the next one comes out.
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- Gloss Drop by Battles
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