Weight On The Brain EP

Written by: TL on 31/12/2013 17:04:55

For a while it seemed to me that Battleme was this band I only heard about because apparently some of the songs got featured on Sons Of Anarchy (which I should probably watch some time, makes note to self), but as it turns out there's more history to the moniker than just that. The name covers over Matt Drenik, whom a few might recognize from the hard rock band LIONS (wikipedia says they've had success with a song in Guitar Hero 3), yet it seems the early, acoustic Battleme tracks got too good of a response to ignore, because since 2010 Drenik has been focusing primarily on this project, dropping a self-titled debut album last year which is now followed with the four track EP "Weight On The Brain".

Starting confidently with big noise and excited drum-pounding only to settle down to a steady, understated groove, Battleme immediately strike me as an unusual halfway point between the stadium-folk touched on by Band Of Horses and Alberta Cross, the luring energy of Silversun Pickups and the laid-back swagger of Black Rebel Motorcycle club. The guitar chords echo massively and distortedly across the chorus of the first track "Just Weight" while the vocals seduce you with a hazy tone. The cool thing is that while this first track seems to have all the time in the world, the following "I Know" immediately ups the tempo, straining against the reins with a buzzing chainsaw riff and overdubbed vocals that sound like the song wishes it could break out into full Nirvana mode. Moving across its second half, the nuances of the EP continue to change, as "Cobweb Portrait" sees a weepy guitar wail against big ballad piano chords in a traditional slow-burner, before "Shotgun Song" builds a trippy, almost psychedelic mood around a hypnotic bass line which lines a red thread all the way through the song, making it feel possible to lose track of time despite its under three minutes of length.

The moment I put "Weight On The Brain" on I instantly felt it spark an interest in me that my recent stretch of "7 or below" albums haven't, because frankly, from the first moment of "Just Weight" you just get the feeling that here's a band to take notice of - And I soon wondered considering that Battleme already has an LP out prior to this release - why Drenik would go back to an EP release instead of pushing the stakes with another full album? With the EP's diversity in mind though, it makes perfect sense if he wanted to give himself room to experiment without the pressure of the gravity that surrounds a full on album release. The curious thing about the EP however, is that it coyly opts out of delivering on the promises it makes. Its songs make you listen and hope for a great hook or chorus (listen to any of the first two Silversun Pickup records to find plenty of examples of these), but in truth I don't think there are any. In fact, I don't think such were the aim of the songwriting here. Instead "Weight On The Brain" feels like a sampler, or a trailer if you will, which lets you taste Battleme's unique sound but saves any moments of full realization of the band's potential for its next album. Of course this is only really cool if a next album shows up with a decent amount of winners on it, yet for now, something about "Weight On The Brain" inspires me with confidence that it will indeed be followed up and followed up well.

Download: Just Weight, Cobweb Portrait
For The Fans Of: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Alberta Cross, Band Of Horses, Silversun Pickups

Release Date 08.10.2013

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