Plenty of bad reviews are being shared on the net to describe Bob Moses’ third album Battle Lines (third if we consider All In All, a first collection of the band’s three EPS).
Undoubtedly the previous Days Gone By surprised for its variety of styles and peaks of creativity. It brought the band to the audience attention for its ability to recollect dance influences (“Days Gone By”, “Touch and Go”), dark atmospheres (“Talk”), electronic creatures such as “Nothing at All”.
This blend of good ideas was the receipt to get (deserved) attention worldwide.
Battle Lines sounds less creative, less fanciful but still more “tidy”. The Canadian duo choose to focus on a poppier sound avoiding excesses in some way. The first effect they got was, unavoidably, a flatter (not dull) result. But this must not be doomed as in this more methodological work, we still find good tunes.
It’s true that the house rhythm patterns keeps on repeating almost everywhere this time (but it was already in the past a “registered trademark” of the duo actually), but Battle Lines already shares nice tracks in its first half. “Back Down” or “Nothing But You” are witnesses of the willingness of the band to express (at least for this time) their pop soul. “Eye For An Eye” with its some kind of a middle east melody, captures the attention of the listener.
Anyway the best is yet to come when you reach the middle of the album. “Enough to Believe” open to a second half which is absolutely not to underrate.
“Listen to Me” brings back some of the electronic fury we already tasted in “Far From the Tree” or “All I Want”. “Selling Me Sympathy” and “Don’t Hold Back” measure up with their older sisters from the previous albums.
To sum up there’s a couple of things to say about Battle Lines and especially its second half before underrating it so badly.
First of all, consider this a pop album: we’d like all of this kind of music to sound like this. None of the tunes is lacking in details or “soul” and compared to what most of the mainstream keep selling us, this is pure quality. Moreover this LP, in its tidiness, seems to define, once and for all, Bob Moses identity: suffering meditation on a pumping house rhythm, all seasoned with lonely pianos echoing in big empty rooms and far away electronic laments. In this way Bob Moses can be easily compared to a kind of softer Trent Reznor’s version. Just listen to the fragile background of “Enough to Believe” probably one the best Bob Moses’ songs ever (in the opinion of the reviewer) or the helpless pianos on “Selling Me Sympathy”. True that Battle Lines is lower quality compared to Days Gone By. To easy to say is to be thrown away.