Those of you who have heard 65daysofstatic’s 2007 effort, The Destruction of Small Ideals, will recognize “The Distant and Mechanized Glow of Eastern European Dance Parties” as the mostly epic eighth track from that disc. The song is propelled by the syncopated drum line, over which run majestic post-rock guitars and just enough keyboards to give it an electronic feel. It consists of one giant looming crescendo that cuts off near the end to allow room for about ninety seconds of a funky little drum/keyboard tandem. Early this year, the Sheffield band went back to the studio to record an EP that includes two new versions of this song and two completely new songs.
The new versions of “The Distant and Mechanized Glow of Eastern European Dance Parties” eliminate any vestiges of the original’s rock leanings in favor of a dance-oriented approach. The first, “Dance Parties [Distant],” sounds like it could be a club remix. The syncopated drums are replaced by a steady 4/4 kick drum, and the guitars are replaced by layer upon layer of keyboards. The most interesting portion of the track comes in the last thirty seconds, when all the instruments but the kick drum cut out for a hand-clapping mantra: “All wake up, the future’s here/ The schools all closed, the roads all clear.”
The second version, “Dance Parties [Mechanized],” is much easier to imagine being played at a rock show, and not just because of the sampled crowd noise. Guitars are still evident, although the keyboards are pushed way up in the mix. Unlike the original, this version is all crescendo. It starts out loud and gets louder, until a brief reprieve, when the aforementioned sampled crowd begins cheering for more and the drums start up again with an even more intense rhythm than before.
The two completely new songs feature the mix of post-rock and electronica that 65daysofstatic excels at. “Goodbye 2007” and “Antique Hyper Mall” blend perfectly together into a 10+ minute instrumental that starts out quietly enough with a lullaby-like harpsichord melody before the trademark breakbeat drums give the signal for a barrage of competing keyboards and guitars. These latter tracks give the impression at first listen of barely controlled chaos. It is only after repeat listens that a sort of perverse logic becomes apparent in the interlocked melodies. These songs, of course, offer nothing even remotely in the way of a standard structure. But they are intriguing enough to bring the listener back to try to figure out how they operate.
The first half of this EP is a somewhat successful experiment for this forward-looking band, to see if they can pare down one of their aggressively hard-to-categorize tracks enough to fit within the conventions of a single genre. But the last two songs see them returning to the niche that they have carved out for themselves through their career, and ultimately, it is these songs that make The Distant and Mechanized Glow of Eastern European Dance Parties worth seeking out.