Battles: La Di Da Di

4 Dec

La Di Da Di album art

By Travis Carlyle

Battles are a band known to me more for the differences between their first (Mirrored: 2007) and second (Gloss Drop: 2011) full-length releases than for any strict musical direction. Following their lead vocalist packing his bags mid-Gloss Drop (a move which meant the album had a number of external contributors) – La Di Da Di is the band’s first top-to-bottom instrumental release.

La Di Da Di begins, grows and ends as an extremely focused and engaging album. While past releases can arguably be bracketed as washy, art-pop-esque creations – Battles’ 2015 collection has a stripped-down focus and seriousness that their previous work did not have the slightest interest in catering to.

A more instrumentally direct and specific product, La Di Da Di works in intricate and deft decisions in all the ways that prior work resembled broad ‘yeah that will do’ brush strokes. Without having to pander to vocal elements, La Di Da Di is able to engage a listener focus with subtle rhythm shifts and an almost filmic development in instrumental progression.

“Summer Simmer” is a six-minute masterpiece with a slow shift from a dominating bassline to a keyboard-centered treble barely noticeable as the song progresses.

Other notable songs on the album include “Dot Com” and “FF Bada” (which is probably my favourite) – again, down to the engaging and intelligent harmonic shifts each has. It seems strange to say, but the cut-down nature of this album has added more to Battles’ work than any vocal-imbued collaboration they have yet produced.

 

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