After impressing many with their 2007 debut, Mirrored, Brooklyn math rock experimentalists Battles were dealt a potentially mortal blow when keyboardist and vocalist Tyondai Braxton left while they were making a second album. However, they regrouped and reworked, creating the follow-up, Gloss Drop, with guest vocalists ranging from Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino to Gary Numan. The same spirit of adventure has presumably inspired them to submit the album to the remixers' whim already. Initially a set of 12in singles, their original tracks are mostly given a more electronic, dancefloor hue, within which styles rollercoast from from hip-hop to garage to African music, and moods from airy to sinister. Kode9's revamp of Africastle wonderfully brings a steel-band vibe to techno. Elswhere, Kangding Ray's Toddler is dark and menacing; Qluster's Dominican Fade sparse and lovely. It can feel more like a collection than an album per se, but it's hard to avoid the sense of gathering pace as Hudson Mohawke's euphoric, Four Tetish Rolls Bayce rampages into Patrick Mahoney & Dennis McNany's Machines, Gary Numan's stern, mocking vocals soaring over an irresistible disco strut.

• This article was amended on 16 April 2012 to correct the name of the track Africastle from Africacastle.

Contributor

Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Jean-Michel Jarre: Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise review – dizzy techno and Edward Snowden

Jon Dennis

05, May, 2016 @5:30 PM

Article image
Gary Numan: Android in La La Land review – electronic music pioneer in sparky doc
Steve Reed and Rob Alexander’s film follows the tortured star in the run-up to the release of his latest album Splinter

Peter Bradshaw

25, Aug, 2016 @9:00 PM

Article image
Gary Numan: Savage (Songs from a Broken World) review – pop gleams amid the dystopian gloom

Dave Simpson

14, Sep, 2017 @9:30 PM

Article image
The 100 greatest UK No 1s: 100-1
Look back on our complete countdown of the greatest UK No 1s, from the Beatles to Baby D, and So Solid Crew to Suzi Quatro

Ben Beaumont-Thomas, Alexis Petridis and Laura Snapes

05, Jun, 2020 @8:00 AM

Article image
The best No 1 records: Tubeway Army – Are 'Friends' Electric?

1979: Who was going to step forward after Bowie to deliver the first big electronic hit? No one expected this ...

Jon Savage

31, May, 2012 @8:33 PM

Article image
Gary Numan: 'Critics said I was wooden on stage – I think it's true!'

The 80s electronic star on overcoming stage fright, surviving a midlife crisis and why he'll never do revivals tours

Michael Hann

10, Oct, 2013 @2:46 PM

Article image
CD: Battles, Mirrored

(Warp)

Tom Hughes

11, May, 2007 @10:55 PM

Lindstrøm: Smalhans – review

A concise return to Lindstrøm dancefloor values, with chunky disco basslines and waves of blissed-out melodies, writes Alex Macpherson

Alex Macpherson

08, Nov, 2012 @9:29 PM

Article image
Disclosure: Settle – review

Are Disclosure a 'true' deep house act? Does anyone honestly care? Either way, their album is a very good thing, says Alexis Petridis

Alexis Petridis

30, May, 2013 @2:29 PM

Article image
MIA: Matangi – review
MIA's last album was hard work indeed, and her new one is only marginally less so – but she's still a unique artist, writes Alexis Petridis

Alexis Petridis

31, Oct, 2013 @4:31 PM