It’s been 4 years since we’ve been treated to new Battles material, and, as we know, four years is a long time, particularly in independent music. After all, as soon as one band slows down a plethora of other groups, all with similar sounds, rush to fill the absentee’s place. But thankfully, Battles’ new effort La Di Da Di is an abstract and beautifully chaotic album that blows all imitators out of the water, proving in the process that they cannot and will not be replaced.
Although they have been deemed ‘experimental rock’ – a genre term that is thrown around too easily now days – Battles want to excite with distortion and disorder but please with just enough rhythm and measure. With La Di Da Di they nail this in every way, in the process giving us perhaps their most accessible album to date.
Right from the get-go, La Di Da Di launches into an orgy of clustered sounds and erratic noises that is both breathtakingly melodic yet chaotic at the same time. Entirely instrumental, the album seamlessly moves through each track without coming up for air: The Yabba is a progressively intense and epic opener; Cacio e Pepe is both dark and lingering; Dot Com is ridiculously catchy, and FF Bada, the first single, is a fast and brilliant showcase of Dave Konopka and Ian Williams’ masterful guitar work.
It is clear Battles are trying to break new ground here and they are aiming high: you can just picture this album being played to the masses at a large outdoor festival. Having just announced their appearance at Australia’s Laneway Festival in February next year the group will have their moment to prove that they now deserve their time on the main stage.