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Battles | EP C | review | alternative | Lollipop


EP C (Monitor)
by Ari Joffe

Don't let the fact that John Stainer (ex-drummer of one of the most underrated bands of the '90s, Helmet) is in this band fool you. This isn't a "rock" record, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Battles is a four-piece instrumental outfit that uses instruments traditionally associated with rock (electric guitars, keyboards, and heavy drums) to create a sound that owes more to free jazz pioneers like Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman than, say, Ramones or Black Sabbath. These guys are obviously talented musicians. They employ a lot of complicated, push and pull counter melodies between the guitars and the keyboards and some good drum-and-bass grooves to give their relatively mellow tunes a nice moody texture. And the songs don't meander about too excessively (a common problem for many bands who do this sort of "fusion" stuff). They do seem to be headed in some sort of direction, they just don't seem to get there fast enough for a dude like me who was weaned on Bad Brains.


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