Album: Battles <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Mirrored, Warp
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The Independent Culture

New York avant-rock fusioneers Battles may be the most appropriately named band currently working. Not only do they operate in the crater-strewn vanguard of jazz-inflected prog-rock, but their music itself has a truculent, warlike manner, with fusillades of drumming and keyboard bombardments that appear to be trying to repel rather than attract. Tracks like "Rainbow" and the opening "Race : In" have the smug, solipsistic air of late-period Zappa, Henry Cow or King Crimson, while everything about "Snare Hangar" - prickly, atonal guitar; jerky, unwelcoming drums - seems designed to irritate. A respite is provided by "Tonto", whose guitar figures have the Zen-garden elegance of Japanese koto music - though they're quickly trampled over by brutish rhythms, vocal noises and a keyboard counterpoint that would delight the likes of Yes or Seventh Wave. It's music of great technical difficulty that hopes listeners are seeking to be impressed rather than entertained; as such, it shares something of the pungent odour that hangs about the decomposing carcass of jazz.

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