Audio Mixer: Steven Clark .
Recording information: Graveyard View, Glasgow, Scotland (10/2015-01/2016).
The first Batteries album, 2015's self-titled effort, allowed bis guitarist Sci-Fi Steven a chance to delve into some artfully nervous synth pop and angular new wave-inspired rock. Not a million miles away from what bis once made their reputation on, but where that band was fun and frothy, Batteries is more intense and up-front about politics and the sometimes bothersome nature of modern life. Steven's second foray into the marketplace as Batteries, on 2016's The Finishing Line, displays a higher degree of angst, noisier guitars, more industrial-sounding drums, and crushingly insistent rhythms. The songs are less poppy and much spikier, often pushing past the realm of pop and into a kind of nostalgic sound reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails if they were a lot more into the Human League than they no doubt were. It makes for an intense listening experience that's broken up a few times by songs that are a few shades lighter, like the peppy title track and "The Rules Are Wrong," which sounds like a Devo song played by a band of teenage metalheads. It's clear that Steven was trying to get a little more serious on The Finishing Line, attempting to make an album that punches like at least a middleweight, not like the stick and move approach of the first album. ~ Tim Sendra