August 21, 2015

Battles played St Vitus

Four years after their last record, Battles are back and ready to regain their focus as one of the tightest live bands in indie rock. "We've played a few shows, but this is our first real show back" they stated as they welcomed a home town crowd in Brooklyn.

As they set to unleash their new album, their third overall and second as a trio, the group have eased into their sound of epic experimentation. Battles do a fantastic job of letting their music run wild. As songs progress, things seem to spiral out of control right until the moment when the band reels everything back into place with extreme precision. Carefully crafted, the songs come to life slowly as they build into powerful riffs and melodic hooks one on top of the other until together, they release all of their tension sending tunes into rapturous overdrive. On stage, their personalities contrast in such epic ways it's a wonder they keep such composure and rigor. Dave Konopka, on guitar and bass, comes across as cool and lighthearted. John Stainer, drums, sits poised and focused on every minute detail while Ian Thomas flails with eccentric gestures over his keys and guitar. Even their stage set-up is a unique twist. Williams' keys are slanted to almost a ninety degree angle and Stainer's cymbal is raised to extreme heights. So much so that as the band unload their gear, the crowd shouted "higher" as he put his kit in place. Still, with all of the quirks, the band conjures a magical fluidity that allows them to create surreal musical experiences. "Ice Cream" jolted the crowd early on and the band gloriously kept the momentum alive throughout the monstrous "Atlas", still an incredible track. New single "The Yabba" is already being highly received by fans and the and while they seemed a little dazed with their older material, the new tracks erupted with life signifying a huge moment for the group. This isn't the same band that made Mirrored and perhaps they'll never reach that level of greatness again, but this Battles is thriving in their new skin.

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