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JFH Indie Review

JFH Indie Music Spotlight Review

Ian Yates

Ian Yates
Battlelands Vol. 2 - EP

Street Date: January 12, 2024
Style: Indie Rock

Back in 2019, UK worship artist Ian Yates released an EP of politically-tinged indie rock tunes called Deconstruction Vol. 1. On that small collection, Yates wondered where Christianity was going in this muddled 21st century. It was a promising release full of energy, questions, and hope. But its sequel was a long time coming. First came the mellow Mystery full-length, where Yates felt more comfortable with what he didn't know. Then came the two-part project of Between the Joy and the Sorrow, which continued that growth of humility and coming to terms with the present. Four songs written for that release didn't make the cut, with Yates and his production team feeling they didn't fit. They were more like spiritual successors to Deconstruction, and so the Battlelands Vol. 2 EP was born.

The term "battlelands" is not as war-like as one might think. Apparently, it's something you can say when you don't know the answer to a question. Thus, the connecting thread running through these 4 tunes is Yates' lack of a sure answer for most things. The listener picks up that thread immediately with the opener, "Drop in the Ocean," where Yates sings, "All I know is a drop in the ocean." In spite of his lack of knowledge, Yates holds out hope with the follow-up track (and obvious radio single), "We'll Be Alright." This high-energy song makes for a fun moment amidst the relative heaviness of its fellows. "Tension" brings back the tension, though, noting how stressful life in the modern age can be. The EP then wraps up with the title track, which echoes "Drop in the Ocean" in that Yates settles for being content with not knowing all the answers.

While these songs certainly feel more indie rock than Yates' previous two releases, they also carry with them a softer edge than was found on Deconstruction. "Tension" is the track that feels the most like that prior EP, but the difference in sound isn't entirely a bad thing. Yates, it seems, is in a better place mentally than the last EP found him, and you can see that journey through his last two albums. His faith is stronger, so strong that he doesn't have to have all the answers for life. So Battlelands carries some of the same angst as Deconstruction, but is imbued with the hope and faith of Mystery and Between the Joy and the Sorrow. This gives the EP a firmer feeling of balance.

The main confusion around Battlelands Vol. 2 is in its name. It makes sense that Ian Yates wants to shy away from the overused "deconstruction" term while connecting this project back to that one, but if this EP is a listener's entry point, they might wonder where Vol. 1 is. That's a minor complaint, however, and Battlelands proves to be a solid entry into Yates' catalogue. The songs carry energy and don't overstay their welcome, making it a great EP to put on when doing quick tasks or making a short walk or drive. It would be nice to see Yates continue to explore this indie rock side of his music, but regardless of what comes next, it will be fun and insightful to continue following his spiritual journey.

- Review date: 1/19/24, written by John Underdown of

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JFH Indie Spotlight Review . Record Label: 7Core Music
. Album length: 4 tracks: 14 minutes, 10 seconds
. Street Date: January 12, 2024
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Drop In the Ocean (3:39)
  2. We'll Be Alright (3:23)
  3. Tension (3:46)
  4. Battlelands (3:19)




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