[ELECTRO-SHOEGAZE] Battleme started as a single acoustic country ballad called "Burn This Town," which received heavy airplay after its inclusion in the second-season finale of Sons of Anarchy. And while Matt Drenik, the songwriter behind the project, has contributed several more tracks for the FX biker-gang drama, he has been revising his husky retro-rock since relocating from Austin to Portland in 2009.
A follow-up to his 2012 self-titled debut, Future Runs Magnetic continues to hone Drenik's electro-shoegaze blend. All that remains from "Burn This Town" is Drenik's haunting croon and a fetching folk influence. His shift to a much thrashier brand of electro-rock has been rounded out by a band that includes drummer Zach Richards and bassist Eric Johnston.
But above all the noise, Drenik's disposition for ballads reigns. While opening track "Just Weight" is decidedly Wayne Coyne-esque, the rest of the album channels Perry Farrell, with throaty, reverb-heavy vocals delivered over muscular guitar licks. "Shotgun Song," with its shouted refrains echoing into a thunderous crunch, could fit right in on any Jane's Addiction album. "Nights on the Strand," another standout, finds Drenik ruminating on human insignificance over soft strums that build into a crescendo of wailing guitars; the lyrics couched in self-actualization.
Future Runs Magnetic forgoes the gritty appeal of Battleme's first LP, but it arrives in a more musically congruous, organic packaging. A switch in producers—from Thomas Turner (Ghostland Observatory) to Doug Boehm (Girls, Dr. Dog)—may account for the change, but the album continues to showcase Drenik's penchant for a truly unique, genre-eluding sound.
SEE IT: Battleme plays Club 21, 2305 NE Glisan St., with Phantom Ships, on Saturday, March 1. 9 pm. Free. 21+.