Battles – Gloss Drop Review

“Ok…Wait, what exactly is this thing? And why is it being recommended to me all the time?”

That was about the first thought that came to my mind after watching the Ice Cream video on YouTube for the first time.

Initially, I didn’t take this band seriously. I thought the music was weird, but still a bit attracting and impressive. I didn’t bother getting into it for another few weeks, though. After these first impressions and after falling in love with their sound, in retrospect I guess those first impressions are pretty normal considering that the band hugely differs from the usual image you would have of a band or music in general. After revisiting the Ice Cream video again and again, I slowly realized I started liking the sound of the song although I didn’t quite take it seriously as a musical piece in the first place. This led me to the decision of buying the album which I did in a local record store (I was surprised they had it).

Let’s get to the review. The album consists of 12 songs running a total time of nearly 54 minutes. Of course the band history is quite relevant considering they’ve turned into a three-piece after losing the very talented Tyondai Braxton, but I decided not letting this background information influence my view on this album (also I didn’t know anything about this background info before listening to Gloss Drop for the first time anyway)

I instantly enjoyed the opener Africastle after the one minute intro within the song. I immediately loved the drumming and those strange sounds I could’nt quite identify. Nor could I tell how they were even created, but what I did know is that I love them. I also love this dark and heavy part at the end which is then interupted by those quirky, almost ridiculously happy and childish sounds leading towards the general mood of….

….Ice Cream, the next song on the album. Since I’ve already talked about this song, I only want to add that it has grown on me (which I never supposed would happen). It just makes one want to move to it, jump around, smile and maybe as the title suggests eat some Ice Cream to it. I also enjoy Aguayo’s gibberish/spanish fusion now which I honestly found rather stupid during my first listen.

The next three songs Futura, Inchworm and Wall Street (the latter in particular) are without a doubt my favourite tracks from the album and also among my overall favourite tracks of 2011. They are a truly beautiful experimental intricate (further random adjectives that stuck in my head but which I cannot put into words) experience which also makes you want to move, jump around, burn your carpet, drink coconut juice out of a dice cup and all that kind of stuff. How do they come up with that??? The moments I especially enjoy on these tracks are the un-expected breaks, the abrupt endings, the slow build-up in Futura, the totally mad and straightforward beginning of Wall Street and many more.

Track 6, My Machines features Gary Numan and thus has vocals in it again (after 3 fantastic instrumental pieces). Numan’s vocals perfectly add up to the still very interesting and experimental sounds of the band. Great song.

Now I’ve listened half way through and I’m completely blown away and think this is going to turn out as a 10/10 masterpiece right?

As for the following second half of the album the answer sadly is no. I enjoyed the second half nonetheless, but it didn’t leave me speech-or breath- or whatever-less, which the first half perfectly achieved. I didn’t really care for Toddler, Rolls Bayce. They seemed kind of  unnecessary to me. I did enjoy Dominican Fade and the closing track Sundome. And it isn’t like the second half ruins the album, it just doesn’t continue to amaze me on this very high level of the album’s beginning.

Overall, I really loved the hell out of this album and revisited a lot up to now. Due to the comparatively weak second half I realized that I revisited the first 7 tracks significantly more than 8-12 though.

This album still works pretty good as a whole and thus deserves an overall rating of 8/10 and leaves me pretty excited for their following stuff.

Favourite Song(s): Africastle, Futura, Inchworm, Wall Street, My Machines

Least Favourite Song(s): Toddler, Rolls Bayce

Overall Rating 8/10

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed much as..

the reviewing turtle eater.


About teajerk

I'm the kinda guy you see when you go fishing. And i don't mean fishing some turtles or stuff, i mean the real deal. I also enjoy collecting fossil dinosaur excrement, watching cats eating my sunglasses and using my psychic energy to control three-legged raccoon dogs. You know, the usual stuff. I mean overall, I'm just a human being as well amn't I. Enjoy my reviews or simply don't. Either way you won't come up to the same satisfaction you get when chasing bears. Oh and don't forget to comment some random stuff I won't ever read anyway. Thanks.
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