A long time coming, Battle’s first album proper has arrived with little fanfare.
Once the toast of a batch of emerging English bands, they staked their claim with powerful singles like Demons and Tendency, but that was then and this is now and Battle don’t seem to carry the same weight they did in 2005, despite being picked up by the influential Transgressive label.
A lack of exposure to this album is unwise, repeat listens reveal an album that should be on all of the end of year lists of best albums that will being doing the rounds in the run up to Christmas and new year but probably won’t as Battle seem to have fallen out of favour with much of the mainstream music publications, first impressions threw forth a solid effort, but this one is a real grower.
Immediate stand out tracks were Paper Street, Demons and opener The Longest Time. The Longest Time and a re-recorded Demons pack a real punch with a large and looming sound that overshadows most of the album, heavier than most of their other offerings and fairly different in style as the vocal delivery quickens, rapid and urgent. Paper Street is at the other end of the spectrum and more representative of the album as a whole, just as introspective as the tracks just discussed but showing a tenderness, almost lullaby-like, that prevails throughout.
The album carries with it a great deal of emotion, despair, failure and regret, the lyrics do not need a great deal of observation or deciphering to come to these conclusions, most is laid bare for all to see but despite all this Break The Banks is not an overwhelmingly sombre affair, the lush arrangements of the songs carry a real warmth to them that it is easy to lose yourself within, the musical equivalent of wrapping yourself in a comfort blanket while the world falls apart around you.