Dork Radio
Now playing:
In the mag...
Featuring Haim, Phoebe Bridgers, Glass Animals and more.
Order a copy
July 2020
Album review

Battles - Juice B Crypts

Where previous records leaned into energetic post-rock, here the influence of their Warp Records peers shines through.
Label: Warp Records
Released: 18th October 2019
Rating: ★★★
Battles - Juice B Crypts
Published: 11:33 am, October 17, 2019Words: Blaise Radley.

In the tale of the experimental post-everything band that could, Battles are back (yes, again) with another, even more streamlined line-up. On ‘Juice B Crypts’, their fourth studio album after roughly as many internal reconfigurations, thankfully the remaining two core members haven’t lost their oddball instincts.

So, what are we left with? Well, there’s Ian Williams, who handles the keys, guitar and loosely-defined “electronics”, and John Stanier, who’s still smashing drum skins. There’s also a renewed sense of propulsion, made evident immediately by the segue from playful synth chords to rip-roaring bassline on the appropriately titled album opener ‘Ambulance’. Both members seem eager to emphasise; this is not a drill.

The rest of the record takes a “One track with us, one track with them” approach - similar to their second album, ‘Gloss Drop’ - with a massive array of avant-garde cornerstones on show: Sal Principato, Xenia Rubinos, Shabazz Palaces and Jon Anderson, to name a few. You can’t help but feel Williams and Stanier were totally freestyling, picking records off their communal shelf and saying: “Why not? Give ‘em a call!”

Thankfully then, the results are often ecstatic. Where previous records leaned into energetic post-rock, here the influence of their Warp Records peers shines through. Second track ‘A Loop so Nice’ lives up to its braggadocious name with a series of tinkling loops pulled from a lighter Autechre tape, while ‘Fort Greene Park’ centres around some Boards of Canada-esque melancholic synth lines. It’s all still recognisably Battles though, with every digital motif deftly matched by an analogue thud.

This interest in drawing upon new uncanny wells works wonders. Even weak points like the tinny repetition of the title-track sees the group toying with new ideas, they just don’t mature into fully-fledged songs. Ending on the revery of the multipart ‘Last Supper on Shasta’ (featuring Tune-Yards no less) proves one thing at least. The duo might be out playing with pals, but they can still tie a manic project into a neat bow.

Give all this a try

Phoebe Bridgers: "It's more fun to be your entire self all the time"
Feature

Phoebe Bridgers: "It's more fun to be your entire self all the time"

With a cast of collaborations that reads like a who’s who of modern alternative music and a debut album drowning in a sea of critical acclaim, Phoebe Bridgers has finally delivered her follow-up, 'Punisher'. No matter what the world throws up, there’s no stopping her now.
The Academic: "These songs were made to reach people"
Feature

The Academic: "These songs were made to reach people"

With an EP born from recording sessions with a former Kaiser Chief, and a big old headline tour on the horizon, Irish up-and-comers The Academic aren’t letting lockdown get them down.
Getting to know... Tate McRae
Feature

Getting to know... Tate McRae

Give her new single 'vicious (ft. Lil Mosey)' a listen, too.
It's the new issue of Dork, featuring cover stars Haim!
New issue

It's the new issue of Dork, featuring cover stars Haim!

There's also Phoebe Bridgers, Glass Animals, Run The Jewels, Dream Wife, mxmtoon and loads, loads more.
Like this? Subscribe to Dork and get every issue delivered direct to your door anywhere on the planet.
CONTACT PRIVACY ADVERTISE

© 2018 The Bunker Publishing