Battles – Gloss Drop (Warp, 2011)

This took me a little while to digest, but the sophomore effort from electro-post-rock group Battles is an incredible listen. It’s definitely an odd album to check out, and one that most people are more than likely to shy away from.

After losing their lead singer, the group reached out to several vocalists who guest on various tracks on the album. The guest spots, particularly from Matias Aguayo and Gary Numan (of “Cars” fame), are exceptionally fun romps. This isn’t to say that the album’s instrumental moments are anything not worth checking out, as the band more than steps up to plate here, from the slow build of “Futura” to the fun dance beats of “Dominican Fade”, to even the electronic drench and quirk that is “Rolls Bayce”. Needless to say, everything here is a load of fun, and that even includes the synth melody on “Toddler” and the almost avant garde “Sundome (feat. Yamantaka Eye)”. I doubt anyone who fixates on Top 40 or more conventional radio-friendly music will appreciate this, but to each his own. I’ll proudly be the one wearing my headphones, thrashing along in my chair to the nearly unpredictable splatters of sound here. This is definitely one of the best things I’ve heard all year.

Key tracks: “Africastle”, “Ice Cream (feat. Matias Aguayo)”, “Futura”, “My Machines (feat. Gary Numan)”, “Dominican Fade”, “Sweetie & Shag (feat. Kazu Makino)”, “Rolls Bayce”, “White Electric”, but seriously, everything here rocks!