battles

If Battles’ 2007 debut was their bristling binary opus, and follow up ‘Gloss Drop’ their guest-vocal-laden mind-melt – after founder member Tyondai Braxton left midway through recording – then ‘La Di Da Di’ is the trio reverting to head-down industry.

Speaking in the build up to the album’s release, they promised “a mushrooming monolith of repetition… an organic techno thrum of nearly infinite loops that refuse to remain consistent,” and, wired with taut energy, tracks like ‘Tricentennial’ and ‘Flora > Fauna’ duck and weave with that familiarly mutated time signature logic.

Battles’ brilliant ability to bond the imperceptible will always be an almost impregnable strength, but minus the concentrated, dam-busting heft of their debut, or the type of gloriously left-field turn Matias Aguayo provided on ‘Gloss Drop’, their art of repetition doesn’t hit hard enough.

Where ‘The Yabba’ underscores the albums tightly wound appeal, as a straight exercise in machine beats-in-space and the subtle threat of hitting ignition, ‘FF Bada’ jerks into a mesh of twisted guitar and fretboards of impressively dexterous fury. The manic ‘Phantom of the Opera’ meets ‘Organ Donor’ duel of ‘Non-Violence’ kicks the complexity back up to the wonderfully skewed notch reminiscent of ‘Atlas’ but for all the technical flashes and hard-wired complexity on show, it’s that stubborn inconsistency that denies ‘La Di Da Di’ its knockout blow.

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