Mirrored, forthcoming uber-hyped album by Battles, somewhat underwhelms. Tracks "Snare Hanger" and "Tij" offer head-nodding rhythms and inventive noise sculpture, but other tracks arrive like warmed over Yes outtakes, especially "Race In," the almost unlistenable intro track. I can think of twelve albums like this, like those made by Ganger in the late nineties and one last year by Lightning Bolt-side project Wizardzz. Production seems uneven on the album too, with those two aforementioned tracks creating the drum sound needed, whereas other tracks offer only percussion like the sound of pigeon's wings flapping.
But even the "Atlas" single grates - it sounds like an Alvin and the Chipmunks version of a Gary Glitter song. "Ddiamond" reminds me of the Ewoks song from Return of the Jedi. And that song made me mad when I was twelve. The Dylan Group and Ui, not to mention Ganger, mined this dead end ten years ago.
Ok, it doens't suck, really, since Albarn's written some interesting songs for it (and I'm not really a Blur fan, despite seeing one of their first ever shows).
But he picked the wrong damn songs, almost all ballads, for a band with a rhythm section comprised of Tony Allen and Paul Simonon. I was excited when I heard Fela's drummer and the Clash's bassist would be playing together - I'd buy an album of the two of them playing by themselves - but they're so underused here that one wonders why Albarn didn't just make the record with Danger Mouse and call it a day. Maybe Allen and Simonon need cash, and Albarn was glad to shovel some label cash their way; wholly advocated. And yet, dunno about Allen, but Simonon's probably okay with Clash royalties, if he's been treated right (they often credited the whole band), and I hear he also sells some damn fine paintings of his own for top dollar.
Allen may also be returning the favor to Albarn for appearing on his Home Cooking album, made a few years ago with the MC Ty. The framework for TGTB&TQ (and Gorillaz) can be found on that album, specifically in the track "Every Season," which Albarn sings. I miss DJ-ing mainly because of this album. Wanna hear it? Get me a gig.
But if you had a bassist like the man who made "The Magnificent Seven" the song it was, and a drummer like this:
Wouldn't you make an album with more of that? Albarn didn't. Maybe "Herculean," but after that, nada. Albarn had an opportunity to make a Statement Album that also could bang around in clubs. He missed it. We miss it still.