A scorching return for Battle Ave
Indie rock outfit Battle Ave has been absent from the rock scene for several years, having formed in 2009 by drummer Samantha Niss and guitarist/vocalist Jesse Doherty. After a long six-year hiatus since their last release, Year of Nod, the Hudson-Valley-based band has emerged with a self-titled EP that finds them stretching into a mixture of several genres. The collection of five tracks highlights the strengths of each member by sharing the sonic spotlight.
“my year with the wizard,” as the first track, establishes the pallet of the EP. A steady beat is complemented by plaintive vocals and guitar harmonies that soften the heavy wave of distortion and feedback. The almost three-minute song alternates between abrasive and harmonious passages, which leads into a winding guitar solo that wails into the distance. The next track, “fear of,” begins with a country-inspired pedal steel laden piano boogie that transforms from Americana to space rock. One moment people are in a dusty bar, the next, people are rocketing into the upper atmosphere on another hypnotic guitar solo that spirals into the fade-out.
“kingston south cuties” features dueling guitar melodies that soar over the simple acoustic guitar and bass. It’s a lush instrumental which serves as a transition into the final two songs. “cell” experiments with harsh percussion clashing with soft vocals, the instruments grinding away. The track is anchored by a solid beat that keeps everything moving at the right pace. For all its churning motion, the track is still a solid addition.
The final track on the EP, “there can’t be love,” is a slow-paced track that the band builds through almost eight minutes of layered guitar and drums. The song hearkens back to folk but still leans into biting alternative. There’s sadness and anger in the band’s delivery. Battle Ave. transforms into a lumbering machine that fires all engines to maintain the right tempo and to bring the EP to a discordant but ultimately satisfying conclusion. The release of Battle Ave EP is a new calling card that leaves people wanting more from them.