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Battles - Mirrored Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9.25
Musicianship 10
Lyrics N/A
Production 9.75
Creativity 10
Lasting Value 9.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Final Verdict: 97%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9.75
Production 9.25
Creativity 10
Lasting Value 8.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Average: 93%
Inside AP.net

Battles - Mirrored

Reviewed by: llmp (07/05/08)
Battles - Mirrored
Record Label: Warp Records
Release Date: May 22, 2007 (US)


There are a lot of bands out there that try to do something original; some of them even succeed. But it does absolutely no good for a band to be “different” if their music does not remain enjoyable. An obvious statement, sure, but this does not seem to be common knowledge for a lot of bands out there. This is why if someone were to make an attempt to describe to me what Battles sounded like, I would most likely nod enthusiastically and promptly forget the name of the band. What's more, the band seems to enjoy giving the middle finger to anyone who would try to sum them up in a few words. This makes my job fairly difficult, but I'd rather struggle to review a great band than churn out one for Average Band #252.

For the majority of the Mirrored's 50-minute runtime, the band relies solely on their instruments. However, they are not shy about employing the use of vocals whenever they feel it is necessary to do so. What do the vocals sound like? Well, remember what I said about the whole middle finger thing? Yeah, that definitely applies here. From song-to-song the vocals are rarely the same; more often than not, they are simply unintelligible grunts or various other sounds made with the mouth, and other times it will be comparably normal singing. Most notable, however, are the high-pitched almost chipmunk-like singing interspersed throughout, and to my complete surprise, it works. I'd like to point out this is coming from someone who often can not stand any sort of high-pitched vocals. Give me the raw, gravelly-voiced Hot Water Music vocals any day of the week, but those simply would not work in this instance, so chipmunk vocals it is.

Musically, the band changes thing up even more, not only from song-to-song, but often from beginning-to-end of a single song. This is important, as half of the songs are over five minutes long and need to remain fresh throughout. This is all the more apparent because of the only song on this album I can say with certainty I dislike, "Bad Trails," does absolutely nothing to remain interesting. In fact, I've had Mirrored for some time now and had to force myself to listen to it just to make sure I had forgotten just how boring it is. While portions of other songs are very hit or miss, they change up enough so the listener is never stuck with a "miss" for too long. In the end, I feel this is what keeps Battles from becoming just another technical band only enjoyed by math rock enthusiasts.

It bears mentioning that on initial listen of this album I only came away liking the seven minute single "Atlas." It is without a doubt their most accessible song and for a while, it was the only thing on Mirrored I listened to, along with the relatively short following song "Ddiamondd." The rest of the longer songs require a lot of patience and time for them to pay off. It is for that reason, it was a month or two later when I finally discovered the second half of the album, besides the aforementioned "Bad Trails," is actually as strong as the first. That said, Mirrored is not the easiest album to sit and listen to all the way through. Not to say it becomes boring; in fact, quite the opposite is true. It can be just a little overwhelming, much like when a movie becomes one long action scene. I find I enjoy the album the most while listening to it in separate parts.

Mirrored is an album that is hard to judge without putting a lot of time into it. Sadly enough, if it weren’t for “Atlas” I probably would have never given Battles the chance they deserved. Since they are not all the accessible, it was initially surprising to me that they have become somewhat popular. But, after putting some thought into it, I decided if the majority of people who enjoy music past the sugary-sweet songs found on the radio were to sit down and really listen to this album they would come away liking at least some aspect of it. So really, the popularity of this band is not all that surprising. I’d recommend giving a listen to “Atlas” to anyone, and if they found that to be enjoyable then definitely give the rest of the album a chance.

Recommended if You Likelistening to something different, technical music

myspace.com/battlestheband
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 18
08:43 AM on 07/10/08
#2
llmp
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I put the lyrics as n/a because, while there are some, they are unimportant and generally hard to decipher. Kinda messed with the rating though.
08:55 AM on 07/10/08
#3
hockeyguitar99
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this album is absolutely fantastic.
09:03 AM on 07/10/08
#4
Praetor
as we melt, let's make no noise.
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Would not have rated it so high at all (only musicianship and maybe creativity) but this is a totally mindblowing album.
11:25 AM on 07/10/08
#5
llmp
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Would not have rated it so high at all (only musicianship and maybe creativity) but this is a totally mindblowing album.

I'd actually give this album a low 90, which is what I meant by my first post. There's a reason I don't like that rating system.
02:03 PM on 07/10/08
#6
Chris Fallon
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I'd actually give this album a low 90, which is what I meant by my first post. There's a reason I don't like that rating system.
Well, given the numbers you gave it, 97% doesn't surprise me at all. Yes, when you leave out on rating, it does sort of tinker with it ... but you rated everything quite high, so that adds up to a reasonably high score.
02:49 PM on 07/10/08
#7
RickRoll
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Great album.

I don't think I can ever, ever tire of "Tonto" and the drumming is marvellous.
04:24 PM on 07/10/08
#8
llmp
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Well, given the numbers you gave it, 97% doesn't surprise me at all. Yes, when you leave out on rating, it does sort of tinker with it ... but you rated everything quite high, so that adds up to a reasonably high score.

Right, but the rating system is based on more objective points. And objectively Battles is an amazing band. It's hard to argue that these guys are NOT incredibly skilled/creative musicians, and that the album is NOT produced very well. But if there were more, say, "enjoyability"-esque ratings they would score lower.

Basically what it comes down to is creativity, musicianship, and production does not necessarily carry over to how well I like an album and Lasting Value is usually a guess (think No Trigger's Canyoneer, an album I still listen to as much as I did 2 years earlier but it is not especially creative). I don't want to give the tilt like a 7 or something just to even it out. Plus, I dislike Math. I know my limitations!

It's just weird to me that I can like an album more than another album but somehow the one I like better get's a lower rating because the other band happens to be more creative/not have vocals/ etc. But it's not exactly a big deal, I couldn't care less about the rating. People just tend to pick them apart all the time.

I edited this a lot so it might seem disjointed.
07:32 PM on 07/10/08
#9
adam289
all lost in the supermarket
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Great album.
07:47 PM on 07/10/08
Chris Fallon
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Right, but the rating system is based on more objective points. And objectively Battles is an amazing band. It's hard to argue that these guys are NOT incredibly skilled/creative musicians, and that the album is NOT produced very well. But if there were more, say, "enjoyability"-esque ratings they would score lower.

Basically what it comes down to is creativity, musicianship, and production does not necessarily carry over to how well I like an album and Lasting Value is usually a guess (think No Trigger's Canyoneer, an album I still listen to as much as I did 2 years earlier but it is not especially creative). I don't want to give the tilt like a 7 or something just to even it out. Plus, I dislike Math. I know my limitations!

It's just weird to me that I can like an album more than another album but somehow the one I like better get's a lower rating because the other band happens to be more creative/not have vocals/ etc. But it's not exactly a big deal, I couldn't care less about the rating. People just tend to pick them apart all the time.

I edited this a lot so it might seem disjointed.
I understand what you mean, dude. It kind of throws the math off when you leave one blank, and gives it a higher score overall due to that. It's the review that matters anyway though, right? Hopefully people will simply learn to rely more on what you have to say rather than how you rate it. That's not what they should be focusing on. Good work, nevertheless.
08:35 PM on 07/10/08
llmp
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I understand what you mean, dude. It kind of throws the math off when you leave one blank, and gives it a higher score overall due to that. It's the review that matters anyway though, right? Hopefully people will simply learn to rely more on what you have to say rather than how you rate it. That's not what they should be focusing on. Good work, nevertheless.

Oh, no doubt man. I just like a good rant every now and then.
10:34 PM on 07/10/08
mortal soldier
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still like don cab more. i'm on the wrong side of history.

wasn't a bad disc though
06:47 AM on 07/11/08
theripped0ne
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"surprising to me that they have become somewhat popular."???????
"recommended if you like listening to something different"?????

hahaaaa you're a tool dude. battles is made up of some of the best musicians on the east coast. these guys are creating the future of music as we know it. this is some of the most physically and mentally demanding music today. catch a live show if you're not too big of a tool. and go listen to some bubble gum garbage if you cant handle it...go review boys like gaping buttholes or something for sissy marys. you're a toollllllll. toollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllll hahaaaa
08:14 AM on 07/11/08
llmp
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Not sure why I'm even responding to this, but I feel kinda bad for the dude.

"surprising to me that they have become somewhat popular."???????
"recommended if you like listening to something different"?????

hahaaaa you're a tool dude. battles is made up of some of the best musicians on the east coast. these guys are creating the future of music as we know it. this is some of the most physically and mentally demanding music today. catch a live show if you're not too big of a tool. and go listen to some bubble gum garbage if you cant handle it...go review boys like gaping buttholes or something for sissy marys. you're a toollllllll. toollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllll hahaaaa

Yeah, you have some quotes there but you don't seem to have any idea what they actually mean. So maybe it's just you have some serious reading comprehension issues.

Here, I'll give you a little help and bring it down to your level:

Battles are badass motherfuckers who like to rip shit up and spit in the faces of pop-rockers everywhere.
03:17 PM on 07/11/08
toddc
life is for the living
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I mean, it's a great album -- the other EP's are good. creatively, it's very original, but doesn't warrant such a high rating, I think. a lot of is looped stuff. honestly, I couldn't give an honest opinion of this band unless I saw them live; and the videos I've seen on youtube are rather fucking spectacular. I just hope they release something new, soon. it's hard to give a lot of credit to a band that has released *that* much material.
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