Battles -- 'Routes: In'
Sometimes it's fun to end up in a new situation. Having to relearn the rules can force you to flex yourself a little, even if you're really just repeating the same routines in a slightly different from. And so you find yourself gearing up for a new job, and you find yourself surprised by how much mervous, twitchy energy you've got.
'Routes: In' has something of this energy to it -- it takes rock music (the 'same-old, same-old' in this scenario), and imbues it with fresh, jittery purpose. As such, it's the perfect introduction to a debut album that constantly looks at music from a different angle -- be it on the technoid glam rock stomp of 'Atlas' or the alien R&B of 'Layendecker', Mirrored excels at twisted reflection rather than full-on reinvention.
Battles -- 'Routes: Out'
But it can get you down, this never ending series of giddy distortions. Imagine playing a computer game where every level looks different but plays exactly the same. Maybe this is why Mirrored's album closer 'Routes: Out' starts off sounding so melancholy -- is there any point to all this noodling or is it just musical masturbation?
'Routes: Out' answers this question the only way it can, by taking the musical components of its predecessor and tilting the mirror a little so that they now seem both defiant and absurd. And isn't that all we can do, really? To keep on searching for an angle that'll work, that'll show us what we need to see?
It's a foolish way to live your life, so keep laughing, but don't ever stop searching. And try to have some fun while you're doing it; after all, however tangled Battles' music gets, there's always a way to move to it, always a way to connect.