2 out of 5 stars
Latest electro-pop group falls flat
“Wake Up, Thunderbabe”
Calculated electro-pop is everywhere these days. While some bands – such as DFA-records founder James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem and English punks Hot Chip – have spearheaded the movement with soundly original releases, the majority of up-and-coming electro-pop groups have fallen short. The Battle Royale fits decidedly into the latter category. The Minneapolis-based quartet’s sophomore release, Wake Up, Thunderbabe, is a quirky and abrasive dance-punk album amped up on youth and adrenaline. Their latest release offers a mix of fast-paced sugary beats (“Custom Clothes”), synth-driven soundscapes (“Confessions Pt. 2”) and softer acoustic tracks (“Let’s Leave”).
The first half of the album is held together by an over-used synthesizer, while the record’s closing tracks are defined by simple acoustic strings and breathy vocals. The album progresses through these various musical developments, allowing most of the tracks to blend together into a homogenous mish-mash of musical experimentation. Unfortunately, these attempts fail to produce a wholly original record, leaving the album plagued with overused beats and strained vocals. Despite The Battle Royale’s formalistic approach to the electro-dance phenomena, Wake Up, Thunderbabe still offers a solid collection of jumpy beats and shake-your-ass rhythms.