Vinyl Vlog 405

Vinyl Vlog 405

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Sunday, 29 December 2019
COLUMN

Battles
Juice B Crypts

photo: turntablelab.com

Back when Late Night television was worth watching, you could count on them as a source or news, comedy, and music. It’s how I discovered a lot of bands including Battles. Watching them on Jimmy Fallon performing Futura, I was immediately transfixed: the stage presence, the style, the weird placement of the drummer’s crash cymbal. All of it was interesting. I heard the song once and it permanently lodged itself in my brain. Gloss Drop was an album that easily placed on my top albums of the year and was my entry point into the band’s catalog. It’s now years later and Battles still find a place in my music rotation.

It’s both deceptively easy and hard to describe Battles’ music. Will prog rock do? Certainly. But, as the devil lies in the details, and not to do the band a disservice, it’s probably also appropriate to call them electronic, mathcore, dance, and punk. Those themes are definitely embedded in the complex tunes that make up the their discography. Battles’ music is nothing if not complex sounding, with layers upon layers, building a song all the way to the sky. This time, Juice B Crypts finds the band delivering an album as a duo. Will that complexity hold up with a third of the members missing?

Have no fear. I should say that this is probably the album of theirs that has connected with me the most since Gloss Drop. It probably has something to do with how aggressive and urgent it sounds. One thing about Battles that I always appreciated is how much they can rock when they want to. After all, they have one of the best drummers around. So why not do that thing they do so well for an entire album? That’s what Juice B Crypts is trying to do, and it’s all the better for it. Especially because it doesn’t waste time, being the shortest album in their catalog. The songs here try to do more with less, stick with their backbone throughout the strange experimentation they’re put through, and ground the whole experience. I don’t even care that I’ve never heard of the collaborators on these songs (hey, I deal mostly with punk rock), Juice B Crypts is a solid album, that gives more after every listen, that injects itself into the listener’s brain as soon as it’s turned on, and leaves an infection.

Battles’ music, being as cool as it is, should also be collected on the coolest platform, which is why we’re so happy to feature it on the Vinyl Vlog. On double LP, color vinyl, and gatefold, this record is simply a work of art. It’s rare that artwork fits so well with the music. It’s enigmatic at first, but after listening to the record, you will be looking through the artwork and think to yourself, “Oh, I get it now!.”

So, the Battles herd has been thinned and the band is better than ever. Juice B Crypts is one of the best albums of the year and of the band’s career. Impressive and highly recommended.

Get it from Warp Records

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