June 14, 2010

Song Review: Battles' "The Line"

The Twilight phenomena has kind of been a double-edged sword for the world of pop culture. On one hand, you have a really lame story about vampires, werewolves, and the teen idols portraying them in the blockbuster film adaptations. On the other, those film's soundtracks have churned out some surprising exclusive contributions (Thom Yorke, Death Cab for Cutie and Vampire Weekend [pun intended?]) For the latest installment, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Soundtrack's deluxe edition bares a rather odd appearance from NYC experimental rock outfit, Battles. It's not so much that Battles are "too good" to be on this soundtrack, but rather, it's kind of awesome that a band whose sound it built off of complicated math rock chord progressions, over-modulated vocals and constantly shifting tempos would appear on a soundtrack to a film geared towards the pubescent 14-year-old demographic currently undergoing a musical love affair with the likes of Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. "The Line," never the less, is the first new song we've heard from Battles since releasing their critically acclaimed 2007 breakout debut, Mirrored. If this is any indication on where Battles will be heading on their next album, you will be satisfied knowing the band is experiencing a growth spurt (just like the kids listening to this album will no doubt be upon hearing this mind-blowing track.) It opens with a slow tempo tribal drum beat, similar to something you'd hear from their fellow NYC contemporaries, Animal Collective or seminal noisemakers, Boredoms. The vocals are actually audible and coherent, which is something new and different with this new Battles' material. As the drum beats build in tempo, chants guide the track into typical Battles' territory: Complex, directionless and revolving around bass beats and electronics that blast off into the outer limits of experimentation. As for the lyrics? There's something uttered about an apparition, but don't read too much into it. It's doubtful Battle's wrote this song with a teenage vampire-werewolf love triangle in mind. Taking all this into account, it's easy to hear why Battles' "The Line" is only a bonus track on the deluxe edition of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Soundtrack. There's probably more indie music fans geeking out about this than Twi-hard tweens, as the song's complexity and lack of "pop" may be a bit over their heads. However, kudos to whoever assembled this soundtrack for taking the bold chance on including Battles. Perhaps this song will be enough to inspire some kid in Nebraska to stop writing Twilight fan fiction, denounce his Team Jacob affiliation and pick up a guitar.

Battles - "The Line"

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