It riffs, it rolls, and it makes noise. If Kustomized's debut album isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread, it isn't bad or unworthy either, and relistenings help to bring out the qualities of both group and record even more. The Battle for Space tries to aim for some of the thrilling post-punk power of both Prescott's earlier stint in Mission of Burma as well as the nervous, fractured energy of the likes of the Gang of Four and Joy Division. That the band had covered "Dead Souls" on a previous EP was something of an indication, since songs like "Throw Your Voice" aim to one extent or another at that song's gripping, rolling power. Drummer Davis keeps things moving with the hints of flair that made John Maher such a great drummer for the Buzzcocks, for instance, while Prescott's guitar keeps a tightly wound feel throughout. However, there's also a rougher, looser edge that suggests the more ragged pop edge of the punk explosion. The music can and does a more sprawling feeling at points, but it's the rough voice sing/shout-alongs that really add the wild card to the proceedings, like if a bunch of Replacements fans suddenly aimed for something more. Things really pick up for the latter half of the album, with songs like "Phantasmagoria, Now" and "33 1/3" striking a perfect balance of art and power. The hands-down winner, though, is "The Place Where People Meet," with a nagging, fierce guitar line that's one of Prescott's best ever which combined with his passionate, commanding vocal and a tight band performance makes for one hell of an undeservedly unknown anthem. Yazijian's touch of adding flute parts via Mellotron or a similar source makes for icing on the cake.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett