Battles: Juice B Crypts
Juice B Crypts , Battles’ fourth album, stretches and reworks the band’s signature sound, which tends to defy genre expectations. Produced and mixed by Chris Tabron, the album documents Battles’ slightly refreshed lineup, which experiments with chaotic layers of noise and melody. At times, the songs are cacophonic and messy, with a loose sense of structure and order but, generally, Battles has a way of bringing a focus to the madness. They get some help from guests like Shabazz Palaces, Tune-Yards and Xenia Rubinos, although the instrumental tracks are almost more interesting than those with vocals. “A Loop So Nice” explores delicately bouncing blips and beats, reminiscent of a video game soundtrack, while the one-minute “Hiro 3” goes darker, with disjointed keyboard notes and a static hum. The title track shoots noises and beats back and forth between your speakers, moving at a frenzied rush with aptly placed pauses. It eventually peters out, and the effect is almost indescribable, causing more of a tangible sensation than an aural one—it’s best listened to with surround sound (or in headphones). Tune-Yards steps in for dual tracks, “Last Supper on Shasta Pt. 1” and “Last Supper on Shasta Pt. 2,” which close the album in an anarchic flourish. Juice B Crypts is unlike anything you’ve ever heard, which is not a bad thing, but it’s also a fairly anxiety-inducing listen. The disordered beats and hectic tone inevitably raise the listener’s heartbeat, which can take some getting used to. Still, these songs will be momentous live.