So many things can go wrong when compiling an effort like Silent Alarm Remixes that one begins to wonder why bands attempt these “makeover records” at all. There is, of course, the general problem of messing with songs that are already pretty spot-on. Then there is the image issue: What self-respecting band wants to appear too lazy to write new material so early on in its career? Lucky for Bloc Party, Silent Alarm Remixed sounds less like a blatant cry for inspiration and more like a genuine appreciation for the art of knob twiddling and record mangling.
Directly on the heels of Silent Alarm’s release comes this collection of, well, the same thirteen tracks, thoroughly fiddled with by some of electronica and rock’s more respectable artists; think Ladytron, Mogwai and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ guitarist Nick Zinner. The reworking of “She’s Hearing Voices,” aptly subtitled “Erol Alkan’s Calling Your Dub,” is drawn out to sound like a melding of STOMP and electronic cheerleading. Meanwhile, “Positive Tension (Jason Clark or Pretty Girls Make Graves Remix sparkles as both a jilted breakup song and an ode to robots everywhere. One of Silent Alarm’s most electro-dance worthy efforts, “Luno,” is transformed into a battle between punk and new wave as Death From Above 1979 thrashes through the track with aggressive gusto.
What is perhaps most refreshing about Remixed is that, despite its replica-like appearance, the cover art is simply the negative image of Silent Alarm’s and the tracks appear in identical sequence – the songs truly do sound different. Not different in that messed-with-beyond-recognition kind of way, but distinct from their originals in a manner that makes you feel like you’re listening to the song for the first time. Each remix works individually, with the original Silent Alarm serving as the project’s backbone, and providing just a hint of linearity in an otherwise delightfully haphazard electro-dance album. Also included is a nifty five-track bonus disk that creates a worthwhile contrast to the album, complete with stripped-down, acoustic versions of “Plans” and “Storm and Stress.” [Every where Aly Comingore goes she see the same hos.]