Battles: Gloss Drop
Neither man nor machine, New York’s Battles blur the line between the precise meticulousness of intelligent dance music and the natural showmanship of human performance. Half man, half robot and entirely awesome!
Gloss Drop sees a wire up of big names from Gary Numan, Mathias Aguayo and Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino.
‘Africastle’ tensely opens up the record with shuddering strings of malice and the nervously pulsating drum's heartbeat emphasise the only natural emotion occupying such a dense and poignant space at the beginning.
It’s a distress that is suffocated by a hesitant tension that slowly chokes away at the little humanity already there. Finally the unnerving is finally broken but with a blitzkrieg of waltzing guitars and shimmers of shock waving synths which all push into ‘My Machines’ where Gary Numan cries painful shouts of anguish that peak at the last second emphasising his disjointed affliction in amongst the hammering industrial drum beats and bass’ that seem to attack him endlessly, chopping pieces away from him at every moment.
It’s with the Yamantaka Eye collaborated closing ‘Sundome’ that everything is left on an ambiguous point, horns warping in schizophrenic echoes as they disintegrate into another dimension whilst the fairground keys add a child-like eccentricity, smudging the distinctive line between the domestically sane and the menacing other.
The album shows how versatile the band is when creating a shifting claustrophobia which envelopes the normal with an intimidating peril.