Battles Tomorrow's Eager Hands

Vancouver musician Stephen Wood either played a much more substantial creative role as a member of Destroyer, or Dan Bejar deserves credit for more than just backing vocals on this collection of artsy, complex and way better than average melodic pop tunes. Tomorrow’s Eager Hands arrives five years after the release of the Battles debut, which, despite favourable reviews, was effectively lost in the hubbub surrounding the popular emergence of the aforementioned Bejar vehicle and that of the New Pornographers. Whereas that one was cited for its litany of Big Star-isms, this one is, at times, almost indistinguishable from some past Destroyer efforts. That holds true in terms of both the arrangements and the vocal delivery style of Wood, whose tenure as Destroyer guitarist spanned the releases City of Daughters, Thief and Streethawk: A Seduction. Striking likenesses aside, the disc is not without its exclusive elements, including a battery of noisy climaxes, some exceptional, song-carrying bass work (compliments of Precious Fathers’ Tim Loewen) and an overall production style that falls somewhere between edgy and first-take. Also, if Wood is, in fact, originally from England, then perhaps he’ll forgive the observation that the affected British accent he sings with is enough to make Bob Pollard sound like just another school teacher from Dayton. (Soft Abuse)