Death From Above 1979
Romance Bloody Romance: Remixes & B-Sides
f ever there was an argument about a modern indie rock album or band that begs for remixing, one might be hard pressed to find a more suitable source than these boys: our favorite long haired, skinny, elephant-trunked duo NOT with the last name of White. Hell, they had most people dancing already when they released their psuedo-metal hoedown of a debut album You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine, creating a new form of crowd reaction (an unholy mix of moshing and Travolta-esque grooving steps) in their much lauded shows.
From this album, though, it’s becoming more apparent they are not happy until they conquer the clubs as well. Fire in the disco…fire in the Taco Bell…
By my count we have two true B-sides: “You’re Lovely (But You’ve Got Problems),” which is a fantastic track for their live set list but would feel slightly out of place on their first LP (and produced by Paul Epworth of Bloc Party fame), and “Better Off Dead,” a cover of a good La Peste track that Jesse and Sebastien take to noisy heights. We also can find one “re-edit,” which also reads as “longer version with a few extra little unique parts,” of “Romantic Rights” which manages to succeed solely on the strength that it’s a catchy damn song anyway.
But the focus of this disc is clearly the remix. And they are all well selected, and truly speak to the range of the musical melodies behind all this noise and sweaty testosterone that the boys preach. Which is a good thing, considering that almost two-thirds of the disc is remixes of only two different songs: “Romantic Rights” and the optimistically nostalgic “Black History Month.” This should prove disastrous, but it miraculously doesn’t. And the major reason for this is because the remixes truly make it feel as if you are listening to another song entirely.
To stick with “Romantic Rights” as an example, the “Phones Lovers Remix” hits us on a totally different sonic level; the gated guitars with it’s deadly serrated edge and the farty synth-bass and alien pitch-shifting practically gives us a wonderful bad acid trip. On another remix of the same track, done by Jesper Dahlback, we take the same riff into the late night heat of a laser-filled Ibiza club dance floor. And I must say, this tune sounds damn fine grinding up to a sweaty exotic femme fatale while doing a body shot.
Some recognizable names show up to offer their mix as well. Josh Homme, DFA79’s touring partner on a current live tour, offers up a tweaking of “Black History Month” which slows things down to an uber-cool strutting pace. Sammy Danger offers up his version of the same track, which could easily be mistaken for the work of Mr. Trent Reznor. Notable dance music duo Alan Braxe & Fred Falke also put their version of “BHM” up for display, though most of us will have first heard this version as part of indie-pop-wunderkid Annie’s entry into the DJ Kicks series. Just as on that album, the track stands out and begs to be played at a dance bar near you. As does a good lot on this album, actually.
But then, unexpectedly on track nine of this disc, we get the biggest shock and greatest surprise of the album.
“Romantic Rights (Marczech Makuziak Remix).”
By Daft Punk From Above 1979.
Seriously. They’ve rocked us hard for eight tracks and then spring this unrequited Digital Love on us when we weren’t prepared. It honestly might be the best dance track that has come out all year. (If not it’s certainly in the running.) Toss this track into the track list in Discovery and I’m not so sure that it wouldn’t fit perfectly. Damn you boys, where’s the repeat button…
But there are two things about this collection that hearten me the most. First, the fact is that even on a b-side/remix album, DFA79 doesn’t offer up filler. But secondly, and most importantly, are the two tracks (“Little Girl” and “Sexy Results”) that are remixed by DFA79’s own production team which mix under the name ‘Mstrkrft.’ Both tracks are beyond solid, and that tells me that these boys are going to continue to produce the goods for us for quite some time. And with a reported three albums out next year…
Of course I could be overly critical and say that the album has no flow. But come on, it’s a remix album.
Reviewed by: Matt Sheardown
Reviewed on: 2005-12-02