The history of Battles has proven to be a turbulent one right from the very start. With frontman Tyondai Braxton departing from the group shortly after the release of the band's incredible debut album 'Mirrored', and now guitarist Dave Konopka leaving in the last year, the band are now down to just a two-piece with drummer John Stanier and multi-instrumentalist Ian Williams all that remains to continue the outfit's incredible legacy. But just like they recruited a multitude of guest artists to replace a singer-shaped hole in their line-up on their sophomore album 'Gloss Drop', 'Juice B Crypts' sees them collaborate far on wide on their eagerly awaited fourth full-length.
With notable contributions from the likes of Tune-Yards, Shabazz Palaces and former Yes frontman Jon Anderson all looking to bring this diminishing group back from the brink, 'Juice B Crypts' sets itself up to be Battles' most divisive record to date. While they have always looked to explore the outer limits of alt-rock with irreverent guitar loops and an erratic production presence, the sound of this new collection tries to see them move away from any solid structure and just try out a whole range of ideas in the hope that something sticks. Resulting in a release that just doesn't quite measure up to their catalogue to date.
It is clear from the start that the two remaining members are looking to reinvent the Battles direction for this new full-length, but it just doesn't have that magical and unique spark that we have grown to adore about their tenure together. While it still floods itself with bold and adventurous sounds, it feels more rudderless than their work to date and has trouble trying to figure out its own identity throughout.