Battles, ABC2, Glasgow

ABC2, Glasgow

Very occasionally, new music appears that pushes at the limits of the vocabulary available to describe it. Animal Collective, TV On the Radio, Gang Gang Dance and new French disco maverick Sebastian's breathtaking current single Ross Ross Ross - they don't sound similar, but they all operate at what feels like the edge of something, and by virtue of this breathe new life into that much-abused term "alternative".

So do Battles. Their debut album is remarkable, but it can't prepare you for the searing, all-out attack of their live show. Drawing on esoteric strands of the American underground, from metal to hip-hop, Battles have been called a supergroup of sorts. And so they are, but not least because of the sensory overload they create. Seeing them perform is like being at the centre of an explosion.

Hi-low, reworked from an earlier EP, is like Led Zeppelin's Kashmir recast as a nervous, future-funk dirge, its ominous bass riff circling with predatory intent. Tij builds gradually, exploding suddenly with a dizzying percussive storm. Atlas, the single, driven by drummer John Stanier's deliciously relentless glam drumming, is at points so thrillingly shameless it makes you laugh out loud. At the same time, Tyondai Braxton's scrambled, treated, alien vocals create something wonderfully unsettling. There is no live band as exciting as Battles right now.


David Peschek

The GuardianTramp

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