Battles
Dross Glop


2.0
poor

Review

by Fugue USER (58 Reviews)
April 23rd, 2012 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: More dross than glop.

When a band loses a member halfway through writing an album, the results can go one of two ways. If the band member is unessential and easily replaced then it is fairly easy for the remaining members to pick up the slack and carry on in much a similar vein as before. If the deserter is as important and influential to the band’s original sound as Tyondai Braxton was to Battles’ however, then the results are usually less positive. Despite this, or perhaps in spite of this, the remaining trio of Battles did fantastically well to successfully release their sophomore album Gloss Drop, and the quality of the finished product reflected well on every member, displaying their skills in equal measure whilst showing that one man does not a band make.

When considering the subject matter of Gloss Drop, it’s perhaps not surprising that the band decided on releasing remixes to the songs; there’s certainly no end to the potential in reworking the abstract beats and arrhythmic structures in any number of ways. Similarly, the calibre of the producers chosen to adapt the tracks is also in no way peculiar, with names such as Gang Gang Dance, Hudson Mohawke, and Gui Boratto among the prestigious line-up. Taken at face value, Dross Glop had the potential to be outstanding, but somewhere along the way this potential lost itself, leaving a disappointingly uneven mess in its place.

As one would expect of an album originally released as 4 12”EPs, the lack of cohesion of Dross Glop is considerable in its downfall. Having rejigged the play order from its original incarnation, Battles fail in making Dross Glop sound anything other than a collection of individual tracks, a flaw which is annoying at worst, but fair enough when considered in the context of a remix album. Regrettably, this lack of a singular overarching direction highlights the negative aspects of the album far more than it does the positives, resulting in passages of uniformity between songs very against the band’s own ethos. Perhaps the freedom afforded on the remixers was too high, certainly the dense, droning techno loops applied to Inchworm and Sweetie & Shag seem almost unnecessarily obtuse. Although The Field and Silent Servant respectively are known for such indirect approaches, taking two of Gloss Drop’s quirkiest tracks and removing the exuberant energy that made them so is at the very least short-sighted.

Similar mistakes are made with Toddler, which barely resembles the original piece, whereas Patrick Mahoney and Dennis McNany slow My Machines down to the point of absurdity, dragging it out to an excruciatingly awkward nine minutes. Elsewhere, Kode9’s remix of Africastle takes a different route entirely, taking many of the original sounds and layers them with thumping house beats. The result is overbearing but not entirely unsatisfactory, and along with Shabazz Palaces’ White Electric at least breaks up much of the monotony of the early record. This mini-interlude aside, it takes until Gang Gang Dance’s gloriously barmy version of Ice Cream to reinvigorate the auditory senses once again, yet once again the positivity is halted too soon by the graceless My Machines.

This all combines to make Dross Glop a frustrating listen, because both Ice Cream along with EYE’s renewed take on Sundome show that it can work, and work well. In the end though, what we’re left with is something that sounds underdeveloped and feels incomplete. Given the circumstances it would be overly fastidious to classify Dross Glop as a full Battles LP, but that doesn’t remove from the lumbering truth that this is their least satisfying output yet. While fans will undoubtedly be looking for a lot more invention in future releases, the band can take positives away from Dross Glop and use it as a vehicle to learn from their mistakes. In the short term however, Dross Glop marks the first blemish in an otherwise flawless back catalogue because unfortunately the majority of Dross Glop is just that; dross.

Overall 2.0 Poor



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
2.8
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Fugue
April 23rd 2012


7354 Comments


Something a bit different to what I'd normally review, waiting to be called out on it.

Original at thealtreview.net


Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

bloc
April 23rd 2012


35010 Comments


Band's always been ass

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

ThroneOfAgony
April 23rd 2012


3485 Comments


I agree. In my opinion though, I find the entire band to be mostly bleh. They've never really done much for me

But fantastic review

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 23rd 2012


7404 Comments


Great review as ever Ross.

I've heard decidedly mixed things about this, ranging from opinions like yours to reviews claiming that it "sets a new standard for remix albums."

Given that I don't like the original album much (or for that matter the band), and barely ever listen to remixes, I'll probably never find out which side I agree with.

fuckthatnoise
April 23rd 2012


1479 Comments


album rules.

Fugue
April 23rd 2012


7354 Comments


Cheers for the positive comments so far. This (possibly obviously) really doesn't sound much like anything on their two LPs so I wouldn't base whether or not to check it out on that material.

Ali: Yeah I've seen a few very positive reviews for this too, I assumed I just didn't "get" it but this is my attempt at justifying that regardless.

fuckthatnoise: What do you like about it man, would be interesting to hear your opinion.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 23rd 2012


7404 Comments


The majority of the reviews I've seen have actually been around 2/5 territory so it's not just you by any means.

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2012


10545 Comments


great review

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

MaskAtTheMasquerade
April 23rd 2012


2888 Comments


haven't heard all the songs but unfortunately the ones i checked out were very dissapointing.

excellent review though dude

fuckthatnoise
April 23rd 2012


1479 Comments


@mutatedfreek It's just a near-perfectly executed remix album that accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2012


31493 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I've heard decidedly mixed things about this, ranging from opinions like yours to reviews claiming that it "sets a new standard for remix albums."


Who was it that said that, NME or Rolling Stone? Asshats. Outside of Kode9, Hudmo, and to a lesser degree Gui Boratto, this just ends up being incredibly boring

Great review

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

fuckthatnoise
April 23rd 2012


1479 Comments


"sets a new standard for remix albums."


wouldn't argue against this.

FranzSchubert
April 24th 2012


823 Comments


I might just give this a miss. im a huge fan of all their other work.

STOP SHOUTING!
April 24th 2012


638 Comments


didn't like the original let alone a remix.

Polyethylene
January 17th 2013


3217 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

... I liked it.

Digging: Son Lux - At War With Walls And Mazes



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