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Friday, May 4, 2007
LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS
Featuring former members of acclaimed underground rock acts Don Caballero and Helmet, Battles' highly anticipated debut album, "Mirrored," should have little trouble finding a spot on numerous "Best Of" lists come year-end. Operating under the guise of post-rock, the New York quartet's mix of electronica, jazz and intricate rock rhythms has been done by many. What sets Battles apart, and will ultimately expose them to larger audiences, is the irresistible pop edge that "Mirrored" possesses.
While 2004's "EP C" and "B EP" were instrumental affairs, "Mirrored" marks Battles first use of vocals. Mostly nonsensical chants and mumblings, Tyondai Braxton's heavily filtered, high-pitched "singing" sounds almost elfish, but succeeds in adding more depth to the act's unconventional structures. Equally inspired by prog-rock and dance music, Battles offset their wide range of warped sounds with a fantastic sense of melody that is usually absent from abstract, avant-garde material. A combination of powerful, almost tribal drumming and spacey, angular guitars and keys, the awesome, seven-minute-long "Atlas" shows that music can be inventive and insanely catchy at the same time and is one of the strongest rock-based songs to emerge in 2007 thus far.