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Battleme

Battleme

(12th Street; US: 24 Apr 2012; UK: 24 Apr 2012)

Indie pop gets another breathy falsetto

Battleme is the solo project of Matt Drenik, former frontman of Austin band Lions, who modified his musical approach after being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called uvetis. Battleme is a quieter outfit than Lions—though there is still some degree of rock in the mix—and the debut album keeps the focus on chiming guitars and Drenik’s warbling vocals. Lead tune “Touch” sets the template, with its layers of gently thrumming guitar and Drenik’s falsetto taking center stage to a swaying midtempo melody. There is variation throughout the record: “Killer High” veers into singer-songwriter territory, while “Closer” is somewhat more rocking. Despite this variance, the album never strays far from the tried and true formulas of indie pop—this is clearly the work of a man who is most comfortable in the middle of the road.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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