Music Reviews

Battles Mirrored

(Warp) Rating - 9/10

No wonder high school pep rallies were always so dismal. If they were playing Race:In, all the home games would be victories, indisputably. With the determination inherent in this song, it's pretty easy to erase that the space shuttle Challenger ever exploded and that the Titanic actually sank. This is Battles, and they've pretty much abolished doubt.

Consisting of an array of heritage musicians tracing to Helmet, Tomahawk and Don Caballero; the previous Battles EP's were a collection of post-rock tendencies, mathematical precision, and even noise-cracks reminiscent of fellow Brooklynites Black Dice. But as the distance between those EP's and their first full-length have indicated, they have coalesced these qualities to create a tight, ambitiously rhythmic monster. Radiant, oh yes. This album sounds like the optical illusion of starring into a mirror with another mirror behind you: the realms just keep on rebounding.

Powered by its fluid and seeming invincibility, Mirrored is almost firghteningly cosmic. As defended by the Atlas video or any of their live footage, the band becomes a unified electromechanical system in motion: Ian Stanier (guitar/keyboard) and Tyondai Braxton (vocals/keyboard/guitar) don't play 'guitar and keyboard' as in, keyboard on one song and guitar on the next; but keyboard and guitar simaltaneoulsy on the same song, as John Stanier crashes a cymbal a few feet above his head. Meanwhile, Tyondai's resonating a psychadelic vocal delivery so heavy with organic purity that the reminiscence to Animal Collective's Avey Tare (again, NY), is bewildering. As epitomized on Bad Trails, Braxton's harmonic vocals tend to roll out as though stapled to a pedal. But it's clear the man is a chamelon, as defended by his flick-of-the-switch poise on Rainbow. Resounding with composure so directly suggestive to Walter Martin of The Walkmen (NY!), one would assume he guest starred.

Beating with technical precision, the band's synchronicity carries an intrinsic quality that breeds something indestructible. Even while songs such as Rainbow draw obvious parallels to the hot-shot genre tag 'post-rock', and Tij screams 'math!', their fury always returns to frenetic. Instead of moving with the prolific design that has brought bands such as Explosions In the Sky and Do Make Say Think to age with such epic wear, Battles have fused something mystifying and fresh.

Standing in the sublime eye of a triangle managing technical mastery, apocalyptic inclines and organic psychedelia; Battles could sew your head to their amp with calculus and a thousand little colourful wires. Tagging onto their incendiary vision, it seems quantum physics may have found a soundboard.