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Featuring ex-members of Helmet and Don Caballero, skull-crushing grooves could be expected to make up a large portion of Battles’ debut LP. But unexpected are the number of hooks that ride those grooves and propel Mirrored from just a pretty cool instrumental record to one of the best albums of the year. Unlike the two EPs issued in 2004, vocals are included on many tracks, but they’re consistently manipulated to the point where they effectively become an instrument themselves, a feat best heard on lead single “Atlas.” The words are indistinguishable, but who cares—they’re not the point. This is Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music meets the Beatles.
Ian Gormely

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Vol 26, No 42
March 14, 2019

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