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42 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 22, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

BATTLES is John Stanier (TOMAHAWK, THE MARK OF CAIN), Ian Williams (Don Caballero) and Dave Konopka (LYNX, TYONDAI BRAXTON). 2006 saw the release of 'EP C/ B EP', a uniquely packaged collection of two previous EP's. The sheer musical breadth of their first three EP's, and the lasting impact of their live shows have left fans in eager anticipation of their full length debut 'Mirrored' does not disappoint. The first single "Atlas" is a verifiable anthem, unrelenting and gigantic, but never surrendering the skewed aesthetic of the band's past. This rhythmic rocker features some freaky vocals, a stomping drum beat & a captivating juggernaut of a groove & has a killer video featuring Battles performing in a giant mirrored cube, spinning through outer space, showcasing their inimitable style. Comes with a Free Poster
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 22, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warp Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,696 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By aquarices on June 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD
To say Battles has their own distinct sound would be an understatement. Some bands are in their own world. Battles is in their own galaxy. A galaxy ruled by mechanical sounding vocals, deep percussion, keyboards that sound like guitars, and guitars that sound like keyboards. It's not quite the Milky Way. It sounds like Turing Machine filtered through a wormhole or something. Really cool, really freaky stuff. And it's the good kind of freaky, not the "weird for the sake of weird" kind. Well, maybe some of it is weird for weird's sake. But it's enjoyable nonetheless.

At first, I wasn't too keen on this. You need to slowly let it tunnel into your consciousness over the course of a few listens. The longer songs (Atlas, Tonto, Rainbow, Tij) are the highlights here, with the other songs seeming more like science experiments as opposed to fully fleshed out songs, with perhaps a couple of exceptions. But those 4 songs, all clocking in at over 7 minutes, are the ones you'll listen to the most when you're not playing through the whole record.

I've played this album for a lot of my friends and none of them seem to know quite what to make of it. Only one flat out told me they didn't like it, but none went nuts over it either. They seemed equal parts intrigued and confused more then anything else. So take that however you want to. All I know is I keep listening to it and enjoying it. It's different, that's for sure. Not for everybody, but I would definitely keep your eye on these fellows either way. I'll never be one to criticize a band for taking chances and doing something different, and Battles is certainly one of those bands.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Cary S. Whitt on May 27, 2007
Format: Audio CD
In these hype-machine times we live in, there's a lot of wolf cries on the "next big thing" in music. Because of this, its easy to let some of the real good things pass by when everything is the next, whatever. Not the case for BATTLES. This album, already garnering plenty of attention, is so vital right now, its making a case for the actual "next big thing", but you've heard that before haven't you. What you might not have heard, all this year anyways, is an album this original.

Following a string of well-received EP's, Battles have survived the hype machine and have come out swinging. Calling their newest full length (on Warp Records), Mirrored, an experimental tour de force, or "math rock", would be selling it far short. Its more than the percussive noodling, and vocal effects set to rhythmic beats. Its how a band can use technology and talent to their best advantage. Battles are really trying to stretch their tech savvy arms here and I don't think they realize just how far they can reach. The idea of creating these wonderful, and catchy sound textures is nothing new, they just have found a new way of presenting it. Think of it as music in the age of ipods and wires without abandoning traditional musicianship and talent. The first single, Atlas, is 70's glam stomper, packaged like T-Rex soundtracking a remake of Logan's Run. Fun, exciting and sometimes head scratching odd, all the parts of Atlas somehow add up with amazing results. Sure the tune and the entire album get major help from former Helmet drummer, John Stanier, but this is far removed from anything from that band. The members all seem to meld with the technology, becoming one with the music itself and less concerned about featuring a standout "player" in the band.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Hodges on January 4, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Math rock" is usually associated with practical complexity. By this I mean that bands that are identified with the genre generally think about the way in which they can perform complex musical material in a live situation. Battles' "supergroup" pedigree includes math rock monsters such as Don Caballero and Helmet, and as a critical fan of so-called "math rock," they have piqued my curiosity since their first EP. However, I never bought any of their albums.

Then I saw the video for "Atlas," and this curiosity became a fascination. I have long been a fan of King Crimson circa 1980, and it seemed like Battles engages contemporary technology and virtuosity in the same way that Fripp and co. did on "Discipline." I immediately bought "Mirrored," and in the final weeks of 2007, it shot up my personal "album of the year" charts.

What is really fascinating and ultimately satisfying about "Mirrored" is unraveling its tapestry of execution. I love to contemplate "who" is playing "what." This form of listening is particularly stimulating when you have a band full of multinstrumentalists that sample, loop, tap, and generally thrash their way through their work.

As usual, the most publicly accessible song on the album is not necessarily the most representative. I think that "Atlas" is great. The video reflects the energy and experimentalism of the band very well. However, there are songs on the album that show "Atlas" to be the "single" that it is. "Tonto" is a beautiful piece of work, as is "Race: In" and "Tij." "Race: Out" is a fun "whack-a-mole" game of "who is playing what" and "Bad Trails" shows Battles' potential for more atmospheric work. The only work that I could offer any critique for is "Rainbows.
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