La Di Da Di

Written by: RD on 05/11/2015 21:08:50

Last spring in Paris, one of the members of the band Battles helped everyone remember an important lesson of life: never play math rock when you’re drunk – even if you are not the drummer. On top of that, the band had not played for years and was still in the process of getting back on stage thus resulting in a rather disappointing event. Their fans were left with one question that night: Is this performance a bad omen for their next album? The answer came a few months later with the long awaited "La Di Da Di", an album released five years after the very artistically and critically successful "Gloss Drop".

The challenge for the band this time is that they chose to write an instrumental album. No more "Smurf" voices as in "Mirrored", no more high profile guests as in "Gloss Drop". "La Di Da Di" was recorded near New York as a trio. Unfortunately, it is just the first problem of this album, as without voices the songs tend to blend into one another; becoming a long continuum with no diversity. Granted, on "Gloss Drop", some of the best tracks were instrumental ("Africastle", "Futura"), but "La Di Da Di" lacks these kind of memorable and efficient tunes. The record starts with an honest opening track that contains all the elements that made the band successful: The loops, a dense production, and intense drumming, but it feels somewhat in vain. The three New Yorkers fail to build any tension or create sufficiently hypnotic patterns to carry us on an interstellar journey. The album alternates short tracks with longer ones without a clear focus. Some of the shortest tracks like "Cacio e Pepe" or ”Tyne Wear” are very interesting, but they are too succinct to develop into great anthems. Others, like "Megatouch" or "Luu Le" are on the contrary much too long and the band lingers in what feels more like jams than real finished tracks.

Dave Konopka (bass) said that the artwork of “La Di Da Di” was about the process of writing music, something that, according to him, can be ugly. It is quite revealing that this odd artwork actually represents the finished album perfectly: “La Di Da Di” is a collection of good ideas that, put together, simply do not work. Yet Dave Konopka, John Steiner (drums) and Ian Williams (guitar) are among the best musicians of the math-rock scene. In the past, they have proven that their music can be catchy, complex and challenging, so even if they seem to have lost their inspiration for this record, we can only hope that they will come back stronger.


Download: “Cacio e Pepe”, “Tyne Wear”, “Non-Violent”
For The Fans Of: Don Caballero, Tyoandai Braxton

Release date: 18.09.2015

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