Published Sep 18, 2015Following up 2011's dazzling Gloss Drop, Battles return with their third release, La Di Da Di. The territory is not unfamiliar — an uncompromising medley of power chords, steadfast drum rhythms and the keyboard touches that comprise Battles' sound. These components are thrown together in a more playful manner than the trio have yet employed on record.
"The Yabba" boils through the opening minutes before spilling over into "Dot Net," a track brimming with the whine of a warped tweaking saxophone. "Summer Simmer" has us twisting with a jarring mesh of riffs anchored by the trio's always over-caffeinated drummer John Stanier. The track itself serves as an audible resume of the band's talents, as rhythms are suddenly broken and recast. Digging deeper provides a familiar exploration of more unconventional sounds, such as the sleigh bells on "Tyne Wear" and the screwing and screeching manoeuvres on "Megatouch."
And yet, despite the manic layering and overwhelming instrumentalism, one can't help but feel like La Di Da Di is, overall, a little soulless. That human spark that pulls in the listener is missing here, and the record offers little to build on anything Battles has previously gifted us. It's a solid record, laced in disorienting, pretty detail, but it's short of being a leap forward or a record worth cherishing. (Warp)