As I Ride With No Horse
Released: Oct 24 2011
Label: Kill The DJ
By: James Murray
Originally Written for The 405
Two years ago Battant were distinguishable through their provocative electroclash productions; raw, choppy vocals layered over confrontational instrumentals. The vocals remain with As I Ride With No Horse, but when taken away from their frenzied surroundings the outcome tastes a bit stale.
Essentially, Battant have moved away from their electronic past and taken one step deeper into the realms of post-punk – resurrecting the sounds of 70s icons such as Siouxsie and the Banshees. The issue here is that Battant have stripped their sound down to create a record that oscillates somewhere between inspirational and trifling, only a recreation of a once ground-breaking record doesn’t quite carry the same level of prestige and ingenuity forty years on.
The tracks that sit nicely on As I Ride With No Horse, regrettably, tend to be those that echo earlier releases. The up-beat ‘Modern Days’ reflects the audacious sound Battant have proved they are so good at crafting – the gruff vocals of Chloé Raunet amplifying a lively ambiance. On the contrary, the following track ‘Clearcut’ drags the BPM backwards in a radical switch of style. Throughout the entirety of the track Battant rely rhythmically on an uninspiring bass riff, paired with Raunet’s vocals – which when not hidden by instrumentals are exposed as monotone and lacklustre.
The latter half of the record develops in experimentation. The interlude ‘Hubble’ acts as a turning point in the record – twisting the tone from jaded to haunting, welcoming the contagious bass line of ‘Being One’, where Raunet’s hazy screeches are, on this occasion, well complemented.
Vocally, the highlight of As I Ride With No Horse comes in the form of the two minute, minimal track ‘Pester’, which precedes the beautifully progressive ‘Fossil Fuel’. The raw sound that Battant have explored throughout the LP opens the track before blasting through audio dynamics (at least by the standards of As I Rise With No Horse). For six minutes Battant explore synths and various other electronic elements that would have accompanied and built on the minimalism that Battant reconnoitred throughout this record.
Often bands adapt their sounds to different audiences, but unfortunately in the case of Battant they’ve failed to play to their strengths; however, amongst forgettable drum patterns and hoarse vocals signs of experimentation keep a light gleaming at the end of the tunnel. As I Ride With No Horse is like stripping a house of its fancy wallpaper to find a murky brown paint underneath. Hopefully the future sound of Battant won’t be impossible to redecorate.
Battant – Shutter