Battle - Back To Earth EP
The single Isabelle by Battle was one of the first download singles I ever purchased. After catching them at a small pub venue in Cambridge last year I was won over by their eloquent lyrics, catchy guitar riffs and ear for a tune. With Back To Earth they've collected a couple of their singles as well as including four new tracks ahead of their debut album pencilled in for a release early next year.
The first thing that strikes you whilst listening to Battle is how they sound like all your favourite bands rolled into one. There's the cocky pop laden licks reminiscent of early Blur, the lyrical twists and turns of Morrissey and the soaring guitar riffs of early Oasis. It's all thrown into a melting pot of pure indie-pop loveliness.
As the opening riff of Wicked Owl rushes towards you then brakes suddenly, Jason Bavanandan's vocals soar in, "I don't want to cause a fuss... is this the person that I am?", then the guitars circle round the voice, the drums powering through until it ends in a haze of feedback. Tendency sounds like Franz Ferdinand if they'd listened to more New Order. A cheeky guitar riff repeats through the song, but there's strings and second guitar just hidden in the mix that teases you to come closer, closer... "I'm the boy who threw his arms around you", and it descends into a dark hole of desperation and longing.
There just isn't a bad track on here - they all bristle with invention and energy that harks back to a seemingly distant age when song writing and lyrical eloquence were paramount to getting a record deal, not a snazzy haircut and a street team. I've had this EP for a couple of weeks now and I've rarely played anything else - the guitar riff at the heart of Beautiful Dynasty, the lyrical couplets in One More Night and the mesh of noise at the centre of Isabelle continuously echo round my head and I press the 'play' button again... Roll on the debut album.