Battle (Border Test Post 2)

Battle - © Stuart LeechWedgewood Rooms - March 2006
Image: © 2006 Stuart Leech

Battle are a change from the flash outfits and nonchalance that has preceded them. Front-man Jason is a skinny guy with a gentle face and an astonishing voice. Although not note-perfect, the passion and range of his delivery are inspiring. Screeches and breathy whispers bring a deliciously introspective feel. Added to the habit of attacking his instruments, you have the recipe for a mesmerising stage presence. The music is lush, like the shoe-gazer sounds of the early 90s. Echoey textures combine with angrier passages to create a sense of space and movement, without sacrificing the measured pace of the songs. The rhythms have room to breathe, sounding almost alive. Besides Jason, the band are fairly static. This plus lack of banter creates the sense of being admitted to a private world. The whole performance drips with energy, passion and (most importantly) honesty. We need more bands like this.