Steven Battelle – Exit Brain Left – Review

6 out of 10

The debut album by LostAlone frontman Steven Battelle has been out for a little while now since it’s release on the 2nd of December, and coming off of a band like LostAlone who were praised not only by critics but fans alike there is a lot riding on this to prove that Steven Battelle can make it on his own. But without a moments hesitation let’s break down this debut album Exit Brain Left.

Kicking off this debut is the track Powers Of Denial and is a great opener to this debut and truly strikes and impressive note leaving not only a lasting impression but also setting the bar very high for what is remaining on this album. However focusing solely on this track not only through the very simple instrumental construction but also powerful vocal performance there are many positives to this tune. Throughout the run time of this track one thing does become apparent and that is the fact that the ending vocal part does truly exemplify the range that may continually be used throughout this record, and it is something that instantly impresses about this debut solo venture.

Moving on from this are the songs The Jump and the track named after himself Steven Battelle which allow him to show something that does run throughout this entire record and that is the sense that there isn’t one definitive style. Although sometimes that works, especially when flowing between these two tracks; with the Orchestral undertones of The Jump and far more pop based and electronic influenced Steven Battelle, it isn’t something that always sticks on this album as there are times where this experimentation feels forced. But in terms of these two tracks the fact that this orchestral undertone is here truly brings an extra level to the track and by comparison around the 3:08 mark in his self-titled track the instrumental break not only shows the musical prowess of Battelle but also how well constructed these songs are.

A quick rally of three songs follows and they truly do move by quickly and depending on where you are in these three is either a good thing or a bad thing. As during the first of these three Christmas Cartel, there are many high points from the very blatant change to straight electronica to the subtle holiday themed additions like the sleigh bells during the start of the song. However as the track drags on with it’s very powerful vocal performance the instrumentation becomes somewhat of a mess and it is hard to pick out which part is causing the issue, as individually there are most likely amazing highlights of each part.

Then with Last Night On Earth the heavier instrumentation truly bring s a new dynamic to the album and is something that could have continued on past the tracks very short run time, short being comparative to the other lengths that sit on this album. And then we get The Ocean Chorus, a track which feels like it could slip easily in to a David Bowie album, yet possibly a budget version. As although there are massive highlights to the track not only through the vocal melodies and again simple instrumentation there is also through the lyricism that truly make this track one which should have been replicated more on this debut album.

Police and Thank You then graces the album, which is possibly the strongest track on the album, with an amazing sample of Marv from Home Alone gracing the track there is quite a bit of charm to the track which not only pleases instrumentally with a strong construction which sings grandeur, which although is a consistent idea is perfectly implemented here. Alongside an almost flawless vocal performance there is not much if anything wrong with this track, and truly does show how far Steven Battelle could go on his own due to the fact that his musicianship shows that he knows what he is doing. Alongside this fact, the underlying factor that he is polarizing the usual first solo venture of a man or woman with a guitar Battelle is showing he has the potential to go very far.

Two more tracks move in to the foreground which although are solid and have their individual highlights are nothing special as Nine Miles of Light and Silent Movie Scream simply just sit in the ether with not much about them. However there is something that does truly stick in the mind from both of these tracks and that is the fact that one amazing track could have been made from the two, with the instrumentation from one and the vocal presentation from the other there is so much power that goes in to these two tracks but together they would make a one perfect track, but sadly this ins’t the case.

But then we reach Absent Magic Part II, one of the most beautiful moments on this album. As Battelle sings about the passing of Bowie. Overall this track is one of great instrumentation and possibly the best vocal performance on the album with the introduction of the choir that perfectly compliments the instrumental of the track as Battelle’s voice soars on top and truly creates a moment which could be played time and again by any perspn who is simply listening to this for the first time or someone who is revisiting it for the hundredth time

Coming off the end of a track which is packed with emotion is a tune which really misses the mark in comparison to the rest of what is sitting on this debut as it is weak. Violent Voices truly does bring this album down as although there are points where this track could be amazing it never hits that next level and ends up being a lack luster display on this debut album, even with its individual highlights.

This brings the album then to a close with I’m Still Finding Out What I’m Going To Be, which does bring this debut of highs and lows to a tight and concise ending despite the ending of the track feeling like quite a mess as it doesn’t have an apparent reason for some of the samples that sit on the tracks tail end. However that isn’t to say the track is bad, as with it’s beautiful instrumentation and perfectly constructed vocal melody the track does hit with quite a lot of power and prove the fact that Steven Battelle has a lot to offer in the future as a solo artist.

Overall, this album is interesting, despite it being a solid debut album which will allow Steven Battelle to solidify himself as a good solo artist there is nothing that truly makes this album stand out. Although you has great tracks like Absent Magic Part II and Police and Thank You it almost feels as Batelle is like a budget Bowie and after having an album by the sadly departed great at the start of this year, it seems to pale in comparison. However if Steven Battelle continues to work on the ideas, instrumentation and vocal performances that are present on Exit Brain Left then there is a chance for him to truly make it big on his own.

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