Music Review – Battles, Mirrored
If you haven’t heard NY indie math-rock outfit Battles, imagine a trigonometry-laced rockopera where digitized munchkins roam free and drums beat with machine-like precision. Containing four men who are no strangers to the music scene (members of past groups Helmet and Lynx), Battles forge a unique fusion of futuristic indie rock and digitally tweaked, mathematically precise electronica; think of them as a cyborg band, half human, half machine. Much like the title of their recently released fulllength debut, Mirrored, Battles seem to exist on two analogous quantum planes, playing along to one another via parallel universes.On their kick-off single “Atlas,” Battles channel the best in the business; equal parts Kraftwerk and TV On The Radio, “Atlas” thumps along with razorsharp precision and eventually morphs into a thrilling perversion of club music. On “Rainbow,” a Philip Glass-worthy concerto of fastidiously placed snare drums and call-and-response guitars deconstructs into a cacophony of feral, reverb-laden noises courtesy of singer/guitarist/keyboard player Tyondai Braxton.
One key element to the success of Mirrored is the way in which Battles allow the songs to collapse into themselves, only to be rebuilt again by way of a perfect union between analog and digital, organic and electronic. By the time we get to the final song of the album, “Race: Out,” we’ve come to understand that Mirrored isn’t just Steve Reich on crack. Instead Battles has pulled off the unthinkable in 2007; they’ve made an album that sounds like little to nothing else in modern music.
First published in movmnt magazine “Got Fame?” Fall 2007 issue