A Beautiful Rainbow
Music without conventional vocals scares people for the same reason that classical music bores them. Usually both types of records consist of a few long winded songs which aren’t apparently “”about”” anything, making the record on the surface seem homogenous. Furthermore, the absence of the human voice is disconcerting to some listeners as though the music wasn’t made by real people. Battles and their first LP Mirrored are quite different.Sonically, Mirrored splatters the canvas with everything from twittering high synths, vocoders and guitars to thumping low bass and drums. The first part of the record features foot-stomping grooves like “”Ddiamondd”” and “”Tonto,”” then hits a turning point at the eight minute opus “”Rainbow,”” with maniacal rhythm changes, an ambient breakdown and the first quasi-intelligible lyrics on the record. The next track “”Bad Trails”” follows, marking a real departure from the rest of the album with fully understandable lyrics and a minimalist textural backdrop yet no real consistent beat. Venturing further into the unknown on “”Tij,”” the band blend looped coughing and rcket takeoff noise with the rock song foundation they laid in the first five tracks.
ame Battles are by no mean de-humanized like many bands whose songwriting relies on instrumentation rather than lyrics. The band use their processed voices like instruments rather than just vehicles for lyrics, thus personalizing their impressively complicated instrumentation with their own special flair. Anyone can play a piece of written music-well, maybe not at the machine-gun pace of Battles-but a voice belongs to just one individual. Similarly, Mirrored is guaranteed to be different from anything you’ve ever heard. It may be difficult to get into, it may clear the dance floor, but that doesn’t mean it isnâ€šÃ„Ã´t worthwhile.