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The Continuous Battle Of Order
Pattern Seekers Kiran Acharya , August 19th, 2010 16:12

Born in Belfast, bred on both jazz and metal, Continuous Battle's debut brings a fresh intensity and sense of invention to the current crop of two-pieces. Pattern Seekers begins with a shore of radio static and Morse Code, establishing the idea of signals to be decoded, of secret transmission. Bursting into dissonance, the intro acts as primer, a monsoon ushering in lightning-strike guitar lines and storming drums.

Instrumental aside from a few forceful phrases ("Circular reasoning will be the death of us", "We are all just pattern seekers", and a cheeky, joyful "Whoo!") the music carries the expressive load admirably. As in bebop, drummer Craig Kearney often uses the ride cymbal to keep time, the snare and bass for accents. Guitarist Hornby's remarkable guitar vocabulary includes right-hand tapping, staccato chords, muted harmonics and chunky palm-muted metallic crunches. The pair are combustible individual talents, performing with the fluency that comes only from musicians who know their songs, and each other, very well indeed. Continuous Battle emerge from the same Irish scene that has brought And So I Watch You From Afar and Adebisi Shank to international attention. Both bands are exciting, exploring different niches, but Continuous Battle do more in their range and ambition. The eight tracks on Pattern Seekers are named as three digit numbers; '001', '002', '003'. When the third, comparatively stable, song settles into its tapped-out groove they introduce samples from the Conet Project; strings of digits thought to be used in global espionage. Wilco sampled the same material on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and found themselves on the end of a lawsuit. Continuous Battle use the oddly regal voices with impunity, setting up a polyrhythmic crescendo of tribal drums complete with triangle and bell tones.

The conceptual aspects don't burden the music. As with Will Haven's use of radio static on WHVN, Continuous Battle's Morse Code bookends and Conet samples are more playful than cerebral. Pattern Seekers does contain pleasing equivalences; a descending riff in the first song is matched by an ascending riff in the third. Small swelling chords in the second track appear prominently in the fourth. The motifs are deployed judiciously, making the album as compelling as classic fiction.

With the exception of the fourth song, an adagio on guitar that builds to a windscream, Hornby and Kearney are never less than all-out energy. Pattern Seekers is kinetic like a spinning coin, generating more momentum with every listen. The eighth, final track is brutal and accessible, the riff like a cobra trying to escape the drums' bearhug. Speeding towards an asynchronous vocal part ('we are all just pattern seekers' introduced at different times, matching up in the final instance) the song skids to a halt, as thrilling as a midnight joyride. Unbound by structural determinism and rich with energy and ideas, The Continuous Battle of Order are stylish and distinct, a superior two-piece that deserve to be heard by many.

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