Electronica For Your HEALTH

California noise rock act lets a roster of artists loose on their work.



Released on Jun 22, 2010


The trick with a remix record is generally that the more well-received the album, the more critically the remixes tend to be eyed. Anytime another artist takes a stab at a popular song, especially with full reinvention in mind, the results tend to be mixed. So it’s interesting for HEALTH, just starting to break through in certain circles, to put out ::DISCO2 as the followup to their 2009 full-length Get Color. It’s uncanny, however, how well their spacey vocals work in the context of trance-esque electronic. Also interesting is that the band almost completely cede control over::DISCO2; with the exception of the opening track “USA Boys,” the band is only on the album in spirit.

“USA Boys,” as the lone original here, starts off with a beat that sounds like a European riff on something that’d normally come from a Dirty South label. It might well end up one of the indie scene dance tracks of the summer, as the trance vocals don’t take away from a legitimately massive boom. The biggest issue with ::DISCO2 as a whole is that the vocals don’t fluctuate a whole lot from track to track, which is fine, but automatically handicaps the contributors. The lilting vocals are best served on a slower track like Little Loud’s remix of “Nice Girls,” which despite the almost obnoxiously undulating synths manages to approach something resembling the titular disco.

Not surprisingly, some of the bigger names involved with the project turn out some of the best work. Crystal Castles, the biggest act on the record, remixes “Eat Flesh”  to start off in the atmospheric vein of Underworld before kicking into a full-blown breakbeat. Javelin’s take on “In Heat” delivers with a bizarre combination of ‘80s synth, jazz fusion keyboard, a machine-filtered glockenspiel and what sounds like the bass riff from “Seinfeld.” However, with “Before Tigers,” Gold Panda delivers the album’s lone instrumental track, which is interesting enough but despite serving as a nice deviation isn’t particularly memorable.

More intriguing is the space-aviary sound that kicks off the Blondes remix of “Nice Girls,” the album’s only track to get remixed twice. This take is dramatically different from the Little Loud contribution, as it’s over eight minutes long and comes closer than any other track on the record to nailing the trance vibe that the original vocal tracks lend themselves to. If anything, the Blondes track is indicative of what ::DISCO2 does at its high points; completely reinvents the source material as something haunting and lovely in its own right. If nothing else, it proves that HEALTH can span genre both of their own volition and with a little help from their friends to put out some genuinely catchy electronica.

High Point

“USA Boys” is a club-ready bit of trance-pop that’s sure to get fans going.

Low Point

Not a lot of the lesser-known acts featured really stake a claim, which feels almost like a wasted opportunity.

Posted by Dominick Mayer on Jun 22, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

disco2, health, review