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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It has Melodies!
Battles' musical style is such that losing a member means losing all the songs he played on, which was shown at their show in the Melkweg not too long ago. No Atlas or Tonto were played, but it was still easily one of the best concerts of the year so far. The departure of Tyondai Braxton left some, including me, wondering what would become of the Battles sound. "Gloss...
Published on June 20, 2011 by M. Buisman

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sugar rush
Simply a good, fun record, albeit a very odd one at that. The music sounds just like the album cover looks (A melting brain? Bubble-gum spaghetti?) There's a playfulness that radiates from every track, even Gary Numan's robotic crooning doesn't hinder the vibe (see "My Machines"). "Ice Cream", "Futura" and "Sundome" are my favorite examples of the craziness Gloss Drop...
Published on June 25, 2011 by Catfood03


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It has Melodies!, June 20, 2011
By 
This review is from: Gloss Drop (Audio CD)
Battles' musical style is such that losing a member means losing all the songs he played on, which was shown at their show in the Melkweg not too long ago. No Atlas or Tonto were played, but it was still easily one of the best concerts of the year so far. The departure of Tyondai Braxton left some, including me, wondering what would become of the Battles sound. "Gloss Drop" provides the answer, and a surprising one. Some elements are still intact; John Stanier's drumming is still some of the best in the alternative music scene. It takes about a minute in opener `Africastle' but the pounding is relentless and tight, like it was on "Mirrored" but it does not dominate the album.

What has changed is the overall mood. "Mirrored" could be dark and brooding at times, "Gloss Drop" is at times almost upbeat. This is in part because of the high pitched keyboards, which Ian Williams has more space for now. It even has melodies! The drumming and beats are almost more towards hiphop where the funky beats have replaced the really weird solid beats on "Mirrored".

Dave Konopko still provides the rumbling background sound with bass and lowtuned guitar.
Braxton was the singer but has been replaced with a score of guest vocalists. How do they do this live you ask? Well, two screens show images of the singer singing the vocals, and this can be manipulated. The brilliant `Ice Cream' vocals are provided by Chilean/German Matias Aguayo, and even Gary Numan shows up in the drum-heavy `My Machines'.

It is unfair to compare "Mirrored" with "Gloss Drop". The moods of the album are different, mostly because of the changing musical dynamics. "Gloss Drop" is stronger overall. While lacking some of the top tracks like the monumental Atlas (maybe the best piece of alternative music recorded in the first decade of this century) it is easier to access and a more pleasant listening experience. One thing is still certain, Battles is still as unique as ever and is as 21st century as music can get.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally.., June 10, 2011
This review is from: Gloss Drop (Audio CD)
Fell in love with the different layers of Mirrored, with each song being kinda like a flaky pastry. Know what I mean? You peel it back and there's another tasty layer. Well Gloss Drop is more like a Gobstopper. Still has those tasty layers, but it's a totally different food altogether. I agree about cruising to this during the summer with the windows down and volume up. Good stuff guys.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HAPPY MATH ATTACK!, June 7, 2011
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s.t. (Philadelphia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gloss Drop (Audio CD)
Without former vocalist Tyondai Braxton around, 'Gloss Drop' of course feels a bit less "songy" than 'Mirrored.' But, really, who lists that quality among reasons to listen to Battles releases? Regardless, this is quite an infectious sugary rush of beats here, much more joyously kinetic than their pre-Mirrored material, and a number of guests vocalists stop by once in a while to change things up. All in all, "Gloss Drop" is an effortlessly enjoyable record that's a lot of fun to blast on some decent speakers. Current standout tracks: Ice Cream, Inch Worm, My Machines, and Sundown.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very goo, July 10, 2011
By 
A. McCloskey (Loveland, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gloss Drop (Audio CD)
Dare I say Yes-like? King Crimson-like? With a kettle drum in certain tracks for a tropical flavor, like the pineapple wedge on the rim of a cool tall refreshing sweet progressive music drink. Get it and drink it up. Exclamation point.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Infectious--I can't help but like it, September 10, 2011
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This review is from: Gloss Drop (MP3 Music)
I didn't want to like this. I didn't know anything about Battles but this pile of pink string in the shape of ice cream just called out to me. I put it on in the record store, and though I was set against electronic music with no singing--at least on the first track--but it is infectious. I've heard people say it has no soul, but it sure is fun. I read about the math that went into it, but for me it's the most innovative stuff dance tunes I've heard in a while. People said Mirrors with old singer Braxton is better. I tried Mirrors. In my opinion, this one's a lot better. I returned Mirrors and got this one. An MP3 wasn't good enough. I had to go vinyl on this and blast it. Electronic music is the music of this decade, but of all the stuff so far this sounds like it took more virtuosity than usual and for me has a lot of heart, if not soul. Glad I picked it up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Mirorred, but thats ok with me, August 5, 2011
By 
This review is from: Gloss Drop (MP3 Music)
this album is full of ever changing styles and structures that make it absolutly, positively, fun to listen to. The craft of songwriting is on full display here, and these guys are complete masters of their respective instruments. thats the fun part for me, listening to the way the songs sound like they may have been crafted on a computer, only to realize they are played on standard guitars, keys, and a freakin beast of a drum set. John Stanier is doing things on this album that in my opinion, he didnt get to do on Mirorred. The syncopation here is breathtaking. The fills, the heavy metronome beats, to the frenetic off time changes he pulls off somehow, make me convinced that hes one of the best drummers working right now. I will go on record saying that i like Gloss Drop more then their debut LP, because it seems more eclectic, musically. The guest vocalists, the bumpier yet contained song structures, really work for me.yes, Mirrored was a groundbreaking album for many reasons, and while i found it to be totally unique and interesting, i just couldnt get into whatever they were trying to do with that one. I think the cartoon/chimpmunk vocals of Braxton were a big part of that. a lot of people thought it was genious, i thought it was kind of annoying most of the time. like fingernails on the chalkboard annoying. but Drop is different. the vocals complete the music, they are a part of it instead of being soooo out there and unique they stole the show, and not in a good way imo. bottom line, Battles have made a very impressive record here. the best of 2011 so far, hands down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best album from the best band, July 11, 2011
By 
Dan Bergevin (danbergevin dot com) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Gloss Drop (MP3 Music)
Dave Konopka stated in a recent interview that Gloss Drop was pieced together in the studio rather than the result of jam sessions. This was a different approach than what was used to create Mirrored, but this album proves that it worked very well. Highly recommended and definitely the top album of 2011 by a long shot.

Perhaps the most exciting part is they're back on tour. One of Battles' greatest attributes is they build very technically precise songs and then try to figure out ways to play them live. As a result, every time I hear one of their songs live it sounds different than a previous time they played it, which is in turn different from what you hear on the album. Ian really has his hands full now, playing two keyboards and a guitar at the same time. These guys are good and they know it, and watching them play is awesome to say the least.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sugar rush, June 25, 2011
By 
Catfood03 (in front of my computer typing reviews) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gloss Drop (Vinyl)
Simply a good, fun record, albeit a very odd one at that. The music sounds just like the album cover looks (A melting brain? Bubble-gum spaghetti?) There's a playfulness that radiates from every track, even Gary Numan's robotic crooning doesn't hinder the vibe (see "My Machines"). "Ice Cream", "Futura" and "Sundome" are my favorite examples of the craziness Gloss Drop emulates. "Sweetie and Shag" injects a bit of "indie-pop" into the mix, while the brief "Toddler" could have have been inspired from some of Raymond Scott's work.

I never listened to Battles before this, so I can't compare it with Mirrored. As it stands on its own this is one awesome record. (and I do literally mean record... I bought the vinyl version, which includes a code for a digital download and a small poster, btw.)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The phenomenal return of Battles - one of the most interesting, ground-breaking bands around!, June 26, 2011
This review is from: Gloss Drop (Audio CD)
This is one of the most innovative, unique bands out there right now. Their songs are flurries of driving rhythm, typically very exciting and exuberant. Each instrument contributes to the rhythmic assaults in its own unique way. I find labels to be inadequate and unimportant but I suppose "math-rock" and "post-rock" are fair descriptions. The music has the sophisticated, multi-faceted qualities of "prog" without the grandiose style of a Yes or Genesis. Battles has more in common with the other end of the prog landscape, in particular the quirky, eccentric genius of the Krautrock rhythm machine wonder known as Can (although it's a bit of a stretch to classify either Can or Battles as "prog" - yet another inadequate label).

GLOSS DROP is a bit more spare than their (official, non-compilation) debut album MIRRORED and, to my ears, it's not quite as striking or good in comparison. This might have something to do with the fact that it lacks the "shock of the new" I experienced after hearing MIRRORED. But it does offer something different in the form of some intriguing guest vocalists which mix things up quite a bit as well as some different musical directions. Considering how intricate this music is, I expect it will continue to grow on me and reveal new wonders with each listen.

To be honest, I occasionally find that the music of Battles crosses the line from quirky to irritating. This is a price I'm willing to pay for the sake of hearing their brilliantly morphing sonic excursions. Actually, GLOSS DROP is far less irritating than MIRRORED which was plagued by some cheesy, sing-songy chipmunk voices (I know, some people liked them but I didn't). In my opinion, the least enjoyable song on GLOSS DROP is "Ice Cream" which begins with vocalist Matias Aguayo grunting and building up the speed and intensity until the song takes off into a jam somewhat reminiscent of Phish (good) and the Dave Mathews Band (not so good). Elsewhere, we hear "My Machines," an interesting collaboration with Gary Numan. The song begins with a clicking sound that I can feel in my nose when I have headphones on. As might be expected, it has a rather mechanical quality, a style inherent in the band's music that also manages to sound quite fluid and organic at the same time. The song is quite repetitive at first but as the drums become more intense it veers off into more free-form territory...

Suffice it to say, each of the other tracks here are absolutely fantastic and compelling. I especially love the first track and "Futura." And the last song featuring Yamantaka Eye of The Boredoms is a true delight. The keyboard sounds on this album are absolutely wonderful, and I find each one of these musicians to be extremely talented. Especially the drummer - just blows me away he's so incredible.

I considered rating this album four stars to reflect the occasional segment which I find slightly annoying along with the fact that I don't think it's quiiite as good as MIRRORED, but I just can't rate music this good anything less than five stars. This record is challenging, but certainly not in a laborious way - rather, a joyful one. No doubt it's too wild and "out there" for some, but as for myself I highly recommend it and expect it to rate high on my best albums of the year list.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic!, July 9, 2014
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This review is from: Gloss Drop (Audio CD)
2 words: John Stanier!!!!
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Gloss Drop
Gloss Drop by Battles (Vinyl - 2011)
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