Battleme: Weight On The Brain

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Battleme
Weight on the Brain
(El Camino Media)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

What started out as an alias for Matt Drenik’s one man operation has morphed into a full band for this four song EP. It follows Battleme’s 2012 debut full length but the sound has expanded from that disc’s somewhat hesitant indie folk/pop to full blown pounding rock and roll.

Drenik’s sensitive vocals have faded into the background in deference to a tough, guitar heavy 70s attack not far at times from Thin Lizzy or Blue Oyster Cult. That’s immediately obvious when the first track, “Just Me” opens on a wave of guitar feedback before shifting to a majestic pop/rocker that doesn’t overstay its welcome in about three and a half minutes. There is a definite mid-period Pink Floyd vibe to the keyboard driven “Cobweb Portrait” but at a tight 4:03, it has none of that band’s excess. The beating tom toms and throbbing bass of “Shotgun Song” close out this 14 minute juggernaut with the power and glory of great garage music that has outgrown its homespun beginnings.

Drenik’s onto something here, but we’ll have to wait for a full album to get a better idea of how it works on a larger canvas. Still, as a preview, this is mighty tempting.