Thursday, September 25, 2008


A rubbish title, for which I apologise. But the EP I'm about to talk about is rubbish too, so there's some sort of karmic equilibrium at work there. Why even mention it if it's so bad? Well, because at Rocktimists we listen to our commentators. Of course we do. Let's glance back at August 15th: a giddy time when I was crapping on about The Cure, the global financial system wasn't quite collapsing and a gentleman named kyle was posting: "i'm going to hope you review the remix ep."

Hello kyle, I am reviewing the remix EP.

Somebody worked really hard lining up all four single covers in Photoshop

I feel slightly guilty about downloading Hypnagogic States without paying for it (and, incidentally, I'm a bit disappointed they wasted a decent title on this pish), as some of the money from each one goes to charity. I'll try to balance this out by buying all twenty eight John Grisham books from my local Oxfam, or something.

However, the EP is not worth £7.99, £5.99 or indeed anything beyond around 99p. As we shall see.

A few Cure fans were quite miffed about 1990's full-length remix-fest Mixed Up. I say this with some kind of authority, though in reality I have no idea if it's true - I was eight at the time - but this piece elaborates at length about the record (and that period) much more thoughtfully. Personally, I think Mixed Up is alright. The "Fascination Street" remix offers a terrific extended version of the original and some of the others have fun, interesting takes. None of them are offensively bad, although Oakenfold's "Close to Me" sounds like he did it in his lunch break. While eating a sandwich. And a chunky kit-kat.

Nestle kill babies

Three fifths of Hypnagogic States IS offensively bad. The entire middle portion sags so badly I was worried about the tracklist turning into one of Dali's clocks and bleeding off Winamp all over the desk. "Freakshow," "Sleep When I'm Dead," and "The Perfect Boy" have no redeeming qualities. They bring nothing. No, that's not true, they all bring rent-a-beats which would be superb for a DANGERS OF DODGY CLUBBING scene on Casualty or The Bill. Lame, tedious 'untz untz untz' stuff with a few half-arsed twinkling noises or worn out doppler effects on Smith's voice. "The Perfect Boy" also bungs on a drum intro which sounds a bit like the opening bass from "Close to Me" in a vain effort to associate itself with a better song. It does not succeed.

It's the complete lack of imagination which is most insulting. Switch out the drums and jumble up the vocals a bit, that's how remixes work isn't it? Well yes if you want them to be terrible. 65daysofstatic are the only ones who seem to have regarded this project as anything other than a frightful chore. Their offering is a glorious mess. Twenty minutes of drill-friction noise blasts, music boxes, soft piano and violin, mashing all four singles up into a gigantic test of listening stamina. It's ridiculous. It's almost magnificent. I'm unsure whether I ever want to hear it again.

Which just leaves us with Jared Leto's "The Only One." Not nearly as thrilling as the 65dos shenanigans, but the track which perhaps gets closest to presenting a decent variation while also retaining the spirit of the original. The problem (ok, one of the many problems) with the rest of the EP is that the Cure aspect is rendered almost irrelevant. 65dos could remove all the Smithery from "Exploding Head Syndrome," slap some new vocals on it and release it as all their own work - which does at least show they injected enough of their own personality when recording it. We're led to believe that AFI, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy were involved with the other tracks in some way, but they may as well have just let a work experience kid fart around with a copy of Garage Band because any distinctive fingerprints were wiped clean at the scene of the crime. Yeah, the tracks still bear a slight resemblance to the Cure versions, but it's pretty much an afterthought. Take the identikit backing, plonk some Dave Gahan over it and wow! Suddenly it's a useless remix of Depeche Mode!

I have no idea if Leto put much of a personal spin on his effort, but what he does manage to do is stick some booming piano chords in as a skeletal bassline and paste in a selection of even-more-Cure-than-the-Cure guitar bits, which give the whole thing a convincing Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me era feel. Robert's mixed far too high, but otherwise it just about works. Hats off to Jared, there.

No, thank YOU

Now we can all forget this EP ever happened and move on.

1 comment:

Vision said...

That's because Jared IS a Cure fan and wanted to do it justice, which he did.
Did you catch his backround descant Ohhh's starting at 2:50?
Nice touch :)