Review Summary: Battles release one of the most varied and unique musical releases of the year.
Odds are if you listen to the radio, you listen to horrible music (and by radio I mean your standard commercial radio station that plays nothing but soft rock and games where you guess the song when it's played through a fart machine). I'm not saying that in a bad way, i'm saying it in hopes to open your mind to more unique and generally better music. Any band would do (well any band that is actually good) although today we are not talking about a group of artists, we are talking about Battles.
Battles is a four-manned American math rock band from New York City which consists of John Stanier (Helmet), Tyondi Braxon (son of jazz musician Anthony Braxon), Dave Konopka (Lynx), and Ian Williams (Don Caballero). While Battles is a math rock band, they really don't fit that aestetic as there sound ranges from hip-hop to indie and beyond. Tyondi's voice manipulation is truely bizzare as it makes him sound like he has swallowed a helium balloned and is auditioning to be on Alvin and the Chipmunks, it may be annoying at first but it will grow on you. Stanier's drumming is also worth noting. While it's not extremely complex, it hits you hard and keeps you interested in the music.
"Mirrored" is the title of their debut album after releasing EP's B and C which showed the bands diverse and unique sound. While those EP's started it, it's "Mirrored" that cements them as one of the best new bands of the past 5 years as this album is among one of the best the year has offered and as the year draws to a close, this very well may be the best album of the year.
The album opens with "Race In" which does an admirable job of opening the album and giving you a taste of what's to come with driving percussion and various toned synths. The next track and one of my favorites (as well as the lead off single and probably Battles most popular song) is "Atlas" and its easy to see why its one of there most popular songs. It is one of the few songs that exceeds 5 minutes in length that can actually hold your interest. I don't really know what there is to say about this song, you just have to hear it for yourself.
The remaining songs don't get to the level of "Atlas" but they sure get close. "Ddiamondd" is probably the most vocally clear song on the album although you still have no idea what Tyondi is saying at the speed of the vocals, Stanier also impresses with a brief drum solo in the middle of the song that isn't so much complex as it is fast and just fun. "Tonto" is another of the 5 minutes+ tracks and like "Atlas", it isn't boring. At times it may feel like it will drag but the band will throw in something that will keep your interest. "Leyendecker" is another favorite of mine even though it alienates many of the people who listen to it. It's driven by a somewhat hip-hop drumming beat and some heavier synth then usual and then the bizzare, dare I say it "***ed up" vocals come in which sounds like the chipmunks on meth and yes all of my comparisions compare something to some sort of drug.
The remaining songs to be honest are somewhat forgettable and while far from bad, Its difficult to remember how they all go. "Snare Hanger" and "Prismism" are the shortests tracks on the album and are just complex and interesting enough to be not considered filler although at times they get dangerously close. "Rainbow" is another intriguing song as it reminds me of the days of the SNES (Super Nintendo) and the games of yore like Super Mario World and Contra (funny fact: I own Shaq Fu).
"Mirrored" while not the masterpiece that some claim it is, is still an excellent album by a band that holds nothing but promise. With a diverse sound that simply can not be described by someone with a limited vocabulary such as mine, "Mirrored" is simply an excellent album and I highly recommend it to someone who is wanting to know what the future of music is and it's "Mirrored".