CD: Battles, Mirrored


After a string of intermittently brilliant EPs, these hi-tech New York instrumentalists finally release their first proper full-length, and with it propel themselves into quite another league. There was always something uniquely enticing in their amalgam of machine-code guitar hooks, electronics and brainy robotic rhythms, but a new sense of warped pop suss and a constant barrage of ear-catching ideas makes Mirrored all the more surprising and addictive. The biggest change is the addition of vocals - often just wordless, dehumanised hums and whistles, as on the much-praised single Atlas, reinforcing the odd sense of Battles being as much some kind of bio-mechanical experiment as a band. The way repeated listens allow its unobvious rhythmic and melodic logic to take root is fantastically rewarding - by the time album closer Race Out reprises and mutates the themes of the opening salvo Race In, your brain might feel like it's been completely rewired. Terrific stuff.

Tom Hughes

The GuardianTramp

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