Battles - Mirrored

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Battles may be signed to ultra-cool label Warp, and they may have caught the interest of the hipper-than-thou elements in the music press, but their full-length debut Mirrored is, quite simply, a prog-rock album. From the opening drums leading into the quick-time guitar picking of "Race:In", it’s clear that Oxford-based battles have listened to a fair share of Yes albums in their time. And, like the best progressive rock, Mirrored is almost painfully clever, mixing complex electronic sounds in with their more traditional instrumentation, so just when you think they’re just another noodling jam-band, they go and get all weird. The result is a musical playfulness that’s too often missing in so much of the post-rock scene, and best exemplified on the cartoonish vocals of the rather funky "Atlas", or the frantic clap-along "Ddiamondd". Even their more serious-sounding songs are more fun than anything by Tortoise, Sigur Ros, Mogwai or their ilk--the epic "Tonto" sounds, at times, like two songs playing concurrently and occasionally meeting up for a boogie before eventually loping off into the sunset like its namesake. Most post-rock bands seem content for their audience to nod their heads and scratch their beards; Battles, meanwhile, are determined to make you smile. --Robert Burrow

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