Track Review – FF Bada / Battles

Not too long ago Battles dropped their first new track, ‘The Yabba’ from upcoming album La Di Da Di and it was killer. ‘FF Bada’ is no different, it’s a writhing, flexible slab of instrumental math-rock that twitches and builds like an old Antidotes-era Foals track. Much like ‘The Yabba’, Battles have a fresh and exciting way of capturing instruments, unlike anything out there right now. The muted guitars to begin with sound like they are sitting in your ear canal and the drums take odd routes to their goal with the evolving patterns of an Aphex Twin track – and those tracks have synthetic drums. The explosion of sound around the 2:45 mark throws everything that Battles have to offer right out there – stabbing guitars, thick riffs that don’t come across as overpowering, dainty synths and John Stainer on drums thrashing around.

The strange sounds that the band make are part of their charm. The muted guitars sound like a series of insects playing instruments, the synths jab and stab like a far-east swordfight and the overall impression of the clatter that Battles produce is that of a couple of kids with no concept of musical structures given kitchen cutlery and told to make a song. The lack of a singer since their first album isn’t a big loss, every high, low and middle is documented in the tight instrumentation and everything you need to know is hidden between twitchy hi-hat hits and elasticated synths that scream out ‘nerd-rock’. If ‘FF Bada’ and ‘The Yabba’ are anything to go by, La Di Da Di is on track to be the best Battles album yet.