Battles - Gloss Drop
It’s been four years since Battles released their massive debut “Mirrored”. An album using the math rock blueprints from guitarist Ian William’s previous band “Don Cabellero” .Whilst Built upon the experimental and Avant Garde foundations laid by Vocalist/guitarist Tyondai Braxton. A combination destined for commercial failure. This however was not the case.
The album received a welcoming critical reception and the band even had their songs feature on television adverts and prime time British programmes such as Skins and Top Gear. The success of Battles boils down to the ambition of the band. Which despite their polyrhythmic, experimental and lengthy songs, they never seem at any point pretentious. They know how to carefully craft their compositions’ in a way that musicians and casual music fans are going to pay attention.
The album Gloss Drop sees the band make a hugely anticipated return but this time without Tyondai Braxton. This may not seem of any importance to anyone unaware of Tyondai or indeed Battles but Tyondai’s presence was usually the point of focus live and in the studio. A presence lost that I’m sure at one point affected the future of Battles.
But Gloss Drop does not sound like the difficult second album. It doesn’t try to repent or make up for Tyondai’s departure. This is a seamlessly natural album which flows together from one track to the other whilst still incorporating all the elements from “Mirrored” and more. Ian William’s technical guitar playing and use of effects is as apparent as ever with brilliant keyboard counter points to match it (see Ice Cream).Bassist Dave Konopka and Drummer John Stainer prove to be a much underrated rhythm section with strong grooves and interesting rhythmic displacements.