"Battle Standards" represents the first output from Talker (Jonathan Krohn & Karl Meier) since 2014's eponymous full-length on Karl O'Connor's pioneering Downwards imprint. While that release demonstrated the pair's range and ability to craft compelling music not simply for DJ use, this inaugural effort on their new Standards & Practices label is aimed squarely at the dancefloor, and designed for maximum visceral impact. Drawing on material created for their all-new live show, each track is a neat summation of the Talker aesthetic: elegant and brutal. Lead cut "Battle Standard" goes right for the jugular, incorporating howling blasts of noise layered with dense, syncopated drums, recalling the work of Birmingham techno icons Regis and Surgeon. On the flip, "(Gold) Standard", a remix that appeared only on a limited edition CD compilation, is one of Talker's most memorable compositions yet, with its haunting Aphex Twin-esque refrain and tough, mechanistic percussion. "Snub Nose" closes the record with a reduced, pared-back sound, unlike anything the duo has done before. Featuring a distinct electro-EBM influence, the staccato, teeth-rattling rhythms might be the EP's most effective DJ tool.