Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reviews:: These Electric Lives - TEL Remixed

At this point, the idea of taking an indie rock album and remixing the tracks into dance anthems (or even more dance-able anthems in the case of These Electric Lives) isn't exactly new or novel, but that doesn't mean it can't be mighty enjoyable. The potential for enjoyment goes up a few more notches when you start with catchy songs the caliber of those found on These Electric Lives' self titled debut EP, but can the enjoyment last when you're stretching those five songs into an eleven track remix album? In short: yeah, I think so.

This Toronto five-piece came to our attention last year during our pre-HPX coverage, and I don't mind telling you I played the hell out of their debut. But, that being the case, I was still pretty interested in hearing more of these songs in their remixed form. After all, some bands are better suited for remixing than others, and TEL, with their peppy brand of dance-rock and songs highlighted by addictive, soaring hooks, seemed like a great candidate to me. And they didn't just look to friends down the block to re-work their songs, as knob-twiddlers from Canada (TEL frontman Mark Stanfield contributed two of the Canadian entries), the US, France, and the UK all contribute a song.

After spending some time with the album, I can say that although I wasn't blown away by any one song in particular, I certainly wasn't disappointed. Most of the remixes are made for the dance floor, but there are also a couple of quieter moments that prove you don't have to dance your skin-tight pants off to enjoy every remix. The band has also done something smart with the song sequencing. The first five songs feature remixes of the songs from the EP in the same order, with the vocals largely intact from the original versions, thus ensuring that even new listeners will have a rough idea of what these new songs were constructed from (Opopo's dark, industrial re-fit of Wake Me Up being the exception to this rule).

Handclaps and 80's-ish synths (there's an occasional synth "weeeer" sound that is all 80's to me) propel the Sta Remix of We Should Be Believing to open the album, and much head-nodding does commence from this point on. The Seedy Ease remix of Teach Me To Focus is one of those quieter remixes I mentioned earlier, a mix of piano, tight little drums, and building video game synths, and it really takes the song in a great new direction. Speaking of new directions, the hyper Thrills RMX of Soda Water doesn't even feature vocals from the original until about three minutes in, but I think this is kind of re-interpreting is necessary if you're going to keep things interesting through the eleven songs. Or you could just build a song over the 80's R&B sounding drums used on the MR. TWIST remix of Keep Love Safe, I'm cool with that.

All in all, I think TEL Remixed certainly delivers what you'd expect from a remix album. It's equally effective powering your headphones as you sweat out a bus ride home trying to avoid eye contact with the creepy guy across the aisle in the huge glasses as it is in getting a dance floor full of ironic kids wearing those same huge glasses to shake their money inheritors. In my previous TEL post that I linked earlier, I said this about the band: "when this quintet forms Voltron-style, they don't slay anime robots, but rather make some incredibly catchy rock music". Well this album would be like that episode where Voltron added some new robots to help him form a pair of those huge raver pants and a set of glowsticks. You know, that classic. Well whatever, bottom line, this is enjoyable stuff, perfect for the summer, so get yourself a copy.

myspace :: web :: buy album

Posted at 2:45 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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