Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Battles: Gloss Drop [Warp, 2011]
Take the title literally. The prospect of touring having proved too much for leader-keyboardist Tyondai Braxton, out go the castrati choruses, the precision interlocks, the neatness that is the curse of math-rock. Instead, general pitch levels drop while the drums explode. "Like a car wreck, only in tune," I heard one guy puzzle as he left a show that revved up all the consequent incommensurabilities even further. So much better than a Ferrari that never needs a tune-up, muse I. In the studio they're less accident prone, and they still tintinnabulate some. But now they also grunt. A-