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Battles: La Di Da Di - review

Oct 1, 2015 Music

Would you like a side dish of discovery and adventure served with your limb-mangling dance rhythms, sir? Sometimes it feels as though there are about three groups in the world genuinely perverting convention, and Battles are right out front.

The US trio’s third album is a twitchy triumph quite unlike anything else in the musical marketplace — a full-frontal force field of frantic, propulsive rhythms made on keyboards, guitars, basses and drums that recasts the notion of classical minimalism in a dance-rock context. Except that this is a kind of maxi-minimalism, because unlike the work of Philip Glass and Steve Reich, it gets real busy with its repetitions.

Having formerly featured the vocals of Tyondai Braxton, the band experimented for their last album (2011’s Gloss Drop) with guest spots from the likes of Gary Numan. Four years on, Battles seem comfortable with an all-instrumental approach, which strengthens the musical architecture and makes for a more unified piece. That might suggest a certain sameness, but actually leads to more diversity within the structure, and resultant surprise. It’s a mad trip. Remember to buckle up.


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