Gloss Drop - Warp
FILTER Grade: 90%
By Kendah El-Ali on June 7, 2011
Much love surrounds the now-threesome that is Battles. After the departure of Tyondai Braxton near what was meant to be their album release last summer, Ian Williams, John Stanier and Dave Konopka decided to start the entire process from scratch, banging out what would become their second LP, Gloss Drop. They also enlisted the help of some friends around the world—including Gary Numan, Kompakt’s Matias Aguayo and Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino—to add healthy doses of vocals that range from the dark and brooding to the bizarrely ethereal. The result is the brilliantly organized chaos that Battles do so well, but the album is filled to the brim with such pleasant surprises it takes at least five listens through to begin hearing the smaller moments of joy (and calm) folded into the layers of cacophony. “Inchworm” is the first track that jumps out, a sun-kissed, warped calypso ditty, followed closely by “Sundome” (featuring EYE of Boredoms) and single “Ice Cream” (featuring Aguayo) as a not-so-distant second and third. Though the sound can come off as aggressive, if not anxiety-inducing at times, it’s the tiny revelations that make the vicious drumming, harsh guitars and freaky vocals worthwhile, summing up for an experience that is as delightfully fucked up as it is musically seamless…with unexpected steel drums making appearances in between.