New York rhythmic marauders Battles soldier on without missing a beat after losing a key member last year. Their second album is loaded with corrugated, busy-bee guitar riffs and squirrelly electronic tweaks ("Wall Street"), along with plenty of beat-heavy excursions ranging from jazzy Tropicália ("Inchworm") to deep-grooved post-punk ("Sweetie & Shag"). But Gloss Drop is more subdued than 2007's Mirrored. Sinister, moody tracks dominate, stressing texture over structure. On the album's best song, the eight-minute closer "Sundome," vaguely ominous strings provide cinematic background as siren-whiny melodic clips gradually accumulate deep funk signposts and the Boredoms' Yamantaka Eye works up wild-eyed reggae-shaman vocals. It's pure rhythmic bliss. — Annie Zaleski
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