We Are Glitter
t was only a matter of time before Goldfrapp played loud enough to catch our attention in the States. After leaving Felt Mountain behind with Black Cherry, the group has been throwing the figurative pasta at the wall with “Ooh La La,” “Strict Machine,” “Number 1,” and the rest of Supernature. It appears that with Diet Coke ads, talk show appearances, and TV soundtracking, something’s begun to stick. Now Goldfrapp’s aggressive, over-sexed pop has taken them to First Remix Album status with We Are Glitter.
It’s in thanks for Supernature’s success that the ‘Frapp are treating Stateside fans now. Covering remixes of many of the cuts on Supernature, We Are Glitter brings together some of their unreleased, import, and hard-to-find reworkings from a veritable Con Air of remixers. Carl Craig, as C2, turns down the treble and builds a slow burner with his version of “Fly Me Away.” The Flaming Lips add some strummed guitar and synthesizer strings to “Satin Chic,” and the DFA remix of “Slide In” features cowbell and percussion a la James Chance. Even Múm gets in on the fun by turning in low-volume, spacey versions of “You Never Know” and “Number 1”: don’t worry, they’re forgettable and included more for the purpose of diversification than anything else.
These imaginative re-castings often hurt more than they help. Sure, some of the versions here are going to go down better in the club, but this is being marketed more as an “unreleased gems” disc, and it’s not clear how many of these mixes are actually “gems.” Depending on your tolerance for banal techno mixes, the record doesn’t really get going until after the first four tracks, with two slowed-down mixes sandwiching two standard-issue club cuts.
When the Flaming Lips arrive, turning in a very Lips-ish psych arrangement of “Satin Chic,” the album picks up. “Chic,” and many of the subsequent tracks, seem to work best by allowing an appreciable amount of Goldfrapp to survive the ProTools cutting room. In the best club mixes (Alan Braxe & Fred Falke’s Main remix of “Number 1,” Craig’s “Fly Me Away”), the remixers play it close to the cuff, staying with Alison G.’s voice and bringing out the biting synth hooks and pre-existing beats. On the DFA’s instrumental “Sliding In” mix, they latch onto Alison’s pouty minor-key melody drop, making it the basis for the entire thirteen-minute groove.
In some ways, We Are Glitter reminds of Danse Macabre Remixes, the reworkings of the breakthrough album from kindred spirits the Faint (i.e. the word “stopgap” comes to mind). That group, however, floundered after the remix album due to their one-dimensionality, with the majority of their fans leaving when the group’s faux-XTRMN8R shout went briefly out of style. If anything, We Are Glitter serves notice that a little marginalization, a little sonic sprucing up, and a couple national TV ads still don’t blunt Goldfrapp’s rough edges. The group seems to enjoy the challenge of retaining their character, and on We Are Glitter they do it a lot better than your average Diet Coke peddlers.