Death from Above 1979

    Romance Bloody Romance

    7

    Halloween
    2005: Me as astronaut John Glenn circa 1965, my friend as a bumblebee.
    He’s running the wheels of steel for the evening. I’m stumbling
    downstairs for more dancing.

    [more:]

     

    “Death From Above 1979!” I request, myself desperately in need of an adrenaline shot of Canadian dance rock.

     

    “I just played some. You were outside. Quit being drunk,” responds the bee.

     

    “Bullshit. Stop your lying!” I wail back.

     

    The
    bumblebee gives in and slides out the MSTRKRFT (Death From Above 1979
    bassist Jesse F. Keeler and producer Al-P) version of “Little Girl.”
    Costume dance party’s going strong, record transition goes smooth and
    we survey the response.

     

    “Ah,
    cut it off,” I howl as the party screeches to a halt, confused by the
    stuttered but inevitably danceable re-tweaking of one of the standout
    tracks from 2004’s You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine. Maybe it’s the volatile concoction of whiskey sour and Vitamin P that’s clouding my head, but color me unimpressed.

     

    Drawing
    from my initial reaction to the world of Death From Above 1979 remixes,
    my post-John Glenn self felt little enthusiasm for Romance Bloody Romance,
    Vice’s holiday offering of a Death From Above 1979 remix and B-side
    album. But squashing my cynicism, the record’s head-turning and
    sometimes neck-snapping remixes show a diversity and creativity that
    avoids the trap of feeling like a kitschy ‘tween-albums project,
    something Vice’s remix effort for Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm couldn’t avoid.

    Of
    the best moments is Josh Homme’s electro-stoner redesign of “Black
    History Month,” which works in perfect contrast to the fabulously
    abrasive Phones Lovers remix of “Romantic Rights.” The finest tracks,
    however, push the drum/bass/sometimes-synth duo’s energetic rock to its
    dance-floor potential. Alan Braxe and Fred Falke transform “Black
    History Month” into a glimmering house track and isolate Sebastien
    Grangier’s vocals, transforming him into a crooning soul singer.
    “Romantic Rights (Marczech Makuziak Remix),” with its vocoder vocals
    and subtle funk guitar, is some of the best Euro-sleaze you’re going to
    pump out of a Canadian. And Erol Alkan’s “Love From Below Re-Edit” of
    the same song builds with a repeated vocal slice that jumps between
    speakers atop blistering percussion.

     

    In
    addition to minor faults in the two non-remix tracks – “Better Off
    Dead,” a cover of Boston rockers Le Peste, and the B-side “You’re
    Lovely (But You’ve Got Problems)” – are slight downfalls in the
    record’s lack of variety in the source material. Romance Bloody Romance matches You’re a Woman‘s twelve original songs with twelve tracks of its own, but unlike Silent Alarm Remixed,
    which took apart its original track by track, this record repeats its
    most popular material: four versions of “Romantic Rights” and four of
    “Black History Month.” But by ditching an interesting principle (an
    entire album remixed is such a cool idea in theory), Romance Bloody Romance
    strides forward in quality, proving that sticking with the stronger
    tracks is the best idea for a project like this. “Black History Month”
    alone carries enough variety as it touches on sounds as diverse as
    smooth house to relaxed soundtracks for sleepy bong rips to frantic
    hardcore to sobbing violin-infused seductions (thanks, Owen Pallett).

     

    The lesson I’ve learned: John Glenn and the bumblebee need to start rolling with a crowd that can recognize a quality remix.

     

     

    Music and video from You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine: http://www.deathfromabove1979.com/default.html

     

    Stream You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine:

    http://www.vice-recordings.com/deathfromabove1979/woman/pop_up.php

     

    Vice Records Web site: http://www.vice-recordings.com/

     

    Death From Above 1979 Web site: http://vox.bandzoogle.com/users/deathfromabove1979/

     

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