Bloc Party – Silent Alarm Remixed Review

Link: Bloc Party

The Inside Pulse:
I don’t like remix albums. Perhaps it is my cynical nature that views them as nothing more than a cash-in, one more notch on a seven record contract. I don’t feel the same way about live records, which are essentially the same thing. That is because there are plenty of great live albums, from Kiss Alive to No Sleep til Hammersmith to Depeche Mode 101, the list goes on and on. There has never been a GREAT remix album. Enter Silent Alarm Remixed.

A mere seven months after releasing their debut album, Bloc Party has compiled a track by track remix of their Gang of Four style arena rock by some of the more original bands and producers on the scene, including Four Tet, Engineers, and Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs notoriety. While the rather abrupt release should raise flags, it should be known that several of these tracks have been in the can for months, appearing as b-sides on import singles.

Remix’s generally fall into two categories; a simple drum beat put under a track with some added sounds and an extended breakdown (the “club mix”) or a song totally unrecognizable that it’s title is the only connection. Here, a couple of the songs are remix’s in the truest sense of the word with subtle (and not so subtle) changes in the mix itself. Sheriff Whitey’s handle on “Helicopter” brings the drums closer to the foreground and fades Kele’s into the mix, turning the clock back on the song by twenty five years and making it even more post-punk than before. Another nice touch is at the end of the track, where Whitey brings up the backing vocals that are only audible with headphones in the original and uses it as the dominant hook on the bridge.

Other songs get absorbed by the beatmeisters and are turned into creations worthy of their own catalog.. “Like Eating Glass [Ladytron Zapatista Mix],” with its layered keyboards and icy atmospherics, sounds like the opening salvo on the Liverpool foursome’s upcoming album. Anthony Gonzalez, a.k.a.M83, adds his patented synth flourishes to “Pioneers” and gives it the weight that is only alluded to in the original.

– Some of the tracks, like and the previously released “Banquet: Phones Disco Mix”, are every bit as good as the originals and stand on their own.

-Perhaps my expectations were too high, but the Death From Above 1979 cover of “Luno” lacks the power they are capable of. Not to get technical, but the seeming absence of double tracking makes the song sound rushed. More disappointing is the fact that it was their involvement that piqued my interest in the project in the first place.

-The nature of a remix album is that they are a cross-breed, so any single description wouldn’t fit. If you are a fan of any of the bands handling remix duties, DFA79 excluded, the album is worth a listen.

Reason to buy:
A very good album that sounds like a true effort put forth by Bloc Party and the bands involved doing something fun and original. Generally remix albums only appeal to fans of the original product, but this album is enjoyable on its own.