Review: Battles

6 out of 10: Leeds, Sunday, 8.50pm. They know how to rock, how to dance and how to loop atonal guitar riffs. Not the ideal festival fodder.

Stage: Carling, Leeds

Time: Sunday, 8:50pm

Dress code: Casual, loose-fitting shirts. To a man.

In summary: Experimental as you like, these four experienced New Yorkers know how to rock, how to dance and how to loop atonal guitar riffs for many minutes at a time. Not the ideal festival fodder - about the most many in the crowd offer in response is the occasional determined nod of the head. Still, there is appreciation for a band of talented musicians attempting to forge a new sound.

Highlight: Distinguishing one Battles song from another can be difficult especially when they take just one pause in the entire set, to announce the last track. You could still pick out Atlas though, their lead-off single from album Mirrored and a chipmunk-vocalled electro-fairground of a tune. It received heavy applause from the crowd.

Better than: So many other current acts in that they're actually doing something new. There are moments when the carefully layered loops and rhythms achieve their aspirations of a transcendental experience.

Worse than: Watching the Bourne Ultimatum. Should Battles' aforementioned loops fail to work their magic, there is the possibility of being left a little bored. Ennui is not a risk when watching Matt Damon in Tangiers, fighting his enemy with a picture frame.

Talking point: Not much talking from the band at all. A brief gesticulation at the sound desk to fix a speaker was about as demonstrative as they got.

Mark out of 10: 6

Where will they be next year: At a boutique muso festival, probably where they belong.


Paul MacInnes

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Review: Razorlight

Stage: Reading, Friday, 10pm. Johnny Borrell fails to be bottled off stage.

Rosie Swash

25, Aug, 2007 @2:44 PM

Review: Maps

7 out of 10: Leeds, Friday, 5.15pm. Extended to become a five-piece, this keyboard-driven band has more kick than the record. Perfect for that early-festival existential crisis.

Dave Simpson

24, Aug, 2007 @7:58 PM

Review: The Shins

6 out of 10:Reading, Saturday, 3.05pm. Less a set for bobbing around to than one for lying on your back and letting your body process the Carling you've consumed.

Helen Pidd

25, Aug, 2007 @5:15 PM

Review: The Gossip

7 out of 10: Reading, Friday, 3.40pm. Yes, Beth Ditto performed in her knickers. No, that's not the only reason this was a set to remember.

Rosie Swash

24, Aug, 2007 @5:29 PM

Article image
Review: Smashing Pumpkins

6 out of 10: Leeds, Friday, 9.40pm. Some unexpected poignancy, but Friday's headliners are clearly twice the age of the punters.

Dave Simpson

25, Aug, 2007 @2:58 PM

Review: Billy Talent

5 out of 10: Reading, Sunday, 2.10pm. We did get to see the most original hairstyle in punk.

Kelly Nestruck

26, Aug, 2007 @4:30 PM

Review: Patrick Wolf

9.5 out of 10: Leeds, 9.05pm. A ridiculously enjoyable set suggests that 2008 may be the year of the Wolf.

Dave Simpson

26, Aug, 2007 @10:59 AM

Review: Dinosaur Jr

Stage: Leeds NME Tent

Dave Simpson

27, Aug, 2007 @10:55 AM

Review: Blood Red Shoes

9 out of 10: Reading, Friday, 3pm. They're just two people, but they fill the Carling tent with sound - and an enthusiastic audience.

Angela Balakrishnan

24, Aug, 2007 @4:38 PM

Review: Plain White T's

7 out of 10: Reading, Friday, 4.05pm. Anthem Hey There Delilah is unrepresentative of this band's fun, but ultimately forgettable teenage songs about why love sucks.

Helen Pidd

24, Aug, 2007 @4:56 PM