Gloss Drop (Bonus Track Version)

Gloss Drop (Bonus Track Version)

After making a brilliant splash with their debut album, Mirrored, Battles return without their lead vocalist Tyondai Braxton, performing primarily instrumental tracks with a few guest vocalists for color. Veteran new-waver Gary Numan trots out for the eerie goth tune “My Machines.” Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino throws her Beck-like falsetto onto the kinetic dance track “Sweetie & Shag,” while Chilean techno producer Matias Aguayo turns the barroom electric with “Ice Cream,” where world beat is twisted with effects that give the track the feel of being heard through a fun house mirror. The instrumentals are chilly but effective. Helmet’s John Stanier, Don Caballero’s Ian Williams and Lynx’s David Konopka play a rendition of “math rock” that leads to uneasy listening bordering on disturbed minimalism. Best is “Wall Street,” a manic-paced cut that perfectly renders the vibe of Lower Manhattan. Second is “White Electric,” where a warm emotionalism takes over the tune, along with a sense of drama that proves Battles can bridge the gap without a new vocalist after all.

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