Much of Gloss Drop, Battles' second LP, sounds like some extraterrestrial circus dropped into feverish Carnaval on a surrealistic Caribbean island. Complex, cerebral, and often dense with textural adventures, Battles' music nevertheless brews frothy exuberance that's highly infectious, essentially twisting musical equations into funhouse enigmas rising from a boiling cauldron of prog rock, techno, synth pop, and avant-metal. Plenty more rockets about too, especially the almost pervasive effervescence of steel drums (although probably played on synths), all of it magnificently driven by John Stanier's constantly shifting and evolving grooves. Between 2007's Mirrored and this spring's Gloss Drop, Battles reverted to an instrumental trio following the departure of Tyondi Braxton, whose quirky vocal effects were a key Battles ax. Gloss Drop's tracks are teeming with so many dimensions they're hardly missed, but just in case, a few vocalists were recruited, including synth-pop pioneer Gary Numan on the throttling "My Machines" and techno producer Matias Aguayo on the shimmery experimental-pop nugget "Ice Cream." With Walls. 18+. (Photo by Frank Rothenberg)
Sat., Oct. 8, 8 p.m., 2011

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