While it is excellent news that the new Bon Iver album is streaming this very day, I had planned to write an opinion of Battles’ new album first. So here goes; I might have to keep it short so that I don’t explode before I write what I want to about the new Bon Iver album.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Battles and what they do with experimental/math rock. Mirrors is one of those albums that helped define my early, serious music appreciation. The sporadic, yet contained style of Battles is something to behold. In Mirrored, the beginning, middle and end flow so elegantly in their most intriguing fashion; the singles truly should remain part of the whole – a masterpiece.
Glass Drop does not disappoint. Without being exactly what I determined to expect, it is exactly what I think it should be. The band lost Tyondai Braxton on vocals, a defining point of Mirrored, but they do well without him. Going back to their root sound heard on their earlier EPs, Battles works through a more instrumental format while pinning some excellent vocal additions along the way. The guitar riffs in this album compliment those of Mirrored, while taking a direction and feeling all of their own.
If all you’re up for is the standard rock group with guitar, bass, vocals, and drums, then don’t come to Battles for an easy listen. Math rock is not for the feint of heart, but it is rewarding in its own ways. I wouldn’t fall asleep to it, but I would calmly sit down and listen to its majestic irregularity. Glass Drop is good progress for Battles; it keeps the distinctive parts of the band, and it goes deeper into a genre worth venturing into.
Whether or not I rushed through this album opinion dying to push through one about the Bon Iver album stream, the important thing to get out of all of this, is that I like Battles’ Glass Drop.