HEALTH - HEALTH::DISCO2

by Deany Sevigny Rating:9 Release Date:2010-06-21

The successor both to 2008's HEALTH//DISCO and this year's GET COLOR, HEALTH::DISCO2 is something of a departure - for a HEALTH album, it's remarkably easy listening. And that's by no means a bad thing! Yes, it's a remixes album, and it trades in a lot of HEALTH 's 'art noise' for soothing synth and throbbing beats, but it's uncompromised and - well - HEALTHy.

Opener 'USA Boys', having no bracketed mention of outside artists' influence, appears to be an original HEALTH mix. It features futuristic electro-pop over a hip hop drumbeat, beneath haunting and melodic vocal harmonies. Here and there a sinister church organ is faded in and out for good, disturbing measure. It's a fittingly dark opener, if not a touch confusing - I didn't know if I was meant to get up and dance, or sit and sway. Either way, it works. 'Before Tigers (Cfcf Remix)' is a fantastically chilled, 80s-inspired track, a touch reminiscent of La Roux (only better, of course). It's delightfully summery and vaguely cheerful - though knowing HEALTH's repertoire that will be deeply ironic cheer.

'In Heat (Javelin Remix)' is an eclectic, rather retro-feeling number, almost like a 21st century facelift of one piece of music from Sonic the Hedgehog. Hip hop beats with eclectic synths and meaty bass guitar abound, there's a strangely addictive 'muzak' feel to it. It's almost like your call has been put on hold. In an elevator. In my case, however, I didn't want them to answer, nor did I want to reach my desired floor.

The fittingly-titled 'Die Slow (Tobacco Remix)' marries drum'n'bass with effervescent 80s distortion and synth, while 'Severin (Small Black Remix)' contrasts with broken, distorted, eerie vocals over easy-listening synth and Royksopp-esque piano scales. 'Before Tigers (Gold Panda Rmx)' is a quirky, ethereal affair, boasting chilled-out disco drums, with more than a distinct resemblance to Múm about it. 'Eat Flesh (Crystal Castles Rmx)' sees HEALTH teaming up again with their old friends to deliver something very reminiscent of 'Violent Dreams' from Crystal Castles (II), with its haunting, echoing vocals. It leads you down a darkly serene path then swerves up to a surprise breakout of noise and violence, which dips again into hauntingly beautiful territory, before ending in decadent havoc.

'Nice Girls (Blondes Remix)' is a beautifully psychedelic, Björk-style affair, contrasting with 'Die Slow (Pictureplain Remix)' which kicks into a brilliant street carnival at around 50 seconds in. The second 'Nice Girls' remix, the '(Little Loud Remix)', is unfortunately unremarkable, yet still listenable; almost sounding like it belongs on an uncredited easy-listening compilation one might hear in a - excuse the pun - health spa.

The album's brought to a chilling close with 'Before Tigers (Blindoldfreak Remix)', which sounds like something from the cutting-room floor of The Knife's Silent Shout. It's hauntingly minimal, beautifully distorted, and almost seems to end on a huge question mark, like something's not quite finished. Hopefully it's symbolic of HEALTH's musical ambitions.

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