Monday, August 28, 2006

Jukebox Juicebox #22 - Singles & Jingles Pt.2

Franz Ferdinand “Eleanor Put Your Boots On” (2006)
This is the first record I’ve bought by Franz Ferdinand though thanks to their ubiquity, I’m extremely familiar with their output. That said, Eleanor seems an odd choice as a single. The opening moments remind me of Blur’s The Universal, that is until a banjo (!) kicks in and the listener is taken into altogether more upbeat territory. If you believe what you read, the song is apparently either (a) about lead singer Alex Kapranos’ current love; (b) a nod to The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby; or (c) both. Whatever the inspiration, the lyrics are pretty throwaway. This new recording is a beefed up take on the album’s version, which begs the question of how thin sounding the original was. Accompanying track Ghost In A Ditch, featuring guitarist Nick McCarthy on vocals, aims for a similar Beatles-y vibe, particularly in the chorus and use of horn section. Actually, it sounds more like The Icicle Works circa 1985. Fade Together is the high point, thanks to a menacing ambient remix by The Avalanches’ Bobbydazzler. Stripped of the song’s lyrics and, presumably, the majority of it’s melodic structure, the track is underpinned by occasional piano chords and Kapranos repeating a couple of key lines. A rather mixed selection, then, but redeemed by the final track.

Tracklisting: 1. Eleanor Put Your Boots On (re-recorded version) / 2. Ghost In A Ditch / 3. Fade Together (avalanches remix)

Cabaret Voltaire “Just Fascination” (2001)
I was eleven years old when this track originally appeared on Cabaret Voltaire’s album The Crackdown and my listening tastes centred around Adam And The Ants, Toyah and Madness. Having a brother nearly four years older than me meant that, by musical osmosis, I also absorbed the sounds of Magazine, The The and Richard H. Kirk’s groundbreaking work with Stephen Mallinder as Cabaret Voltaire. Although the pair no longer record together, Kirk’s output in the past three decades has given prolific a whole new meaning. What’s amazing is that quality never seems to be compromised by the quantity of his material. No surprise then, that both Virgin and Mute have asked Kirk to revisit – and reinvent – his past for their posthumous releases of classic Cabaret Voltaire tracks. All but two of the five tracks on this promo CD single are available on Virgin’s 3CD Cabaret Voltaire anthology Conform To Deform. Richard H. Kirk previously updated Just Fascination for Virgin’s Technology: Western ReWorks remix album in 1992 and, on the evidence of the three mixes he delivers here, there’s plenty more mileage in this track. Dubbing the vocals and playing with a variety of rhythm tracks, what’s immediately apparent is that Kirk still has a strong dancefloor sensibility. The fact that the remixes are easily identifiable also confirms how right Kirk and Mallinder got it the first time around. Conversely, the pair of previously unreleased François Kevorkian remixes of Sex, Money, Freaks from 1987 demonstrate the challenge of enhancing or surpassing Cabaret Voltaire’s original takes. The 12” dub works best, but both sound very much of their time, in a way that the duo’s own tracks don’t.

Tracklisting: 1. Just Fascination (r.h. kirk remix) / 2. (alternative mix) / 3. (dub mix) / 4. Sex, Money, Freaks (kevorkian 12” mix) / 5. (kevorkian 12” dub)

The Free Association “(I Wish I Had A) Wooden Heart” (2002)
Planned as the lead single from the eponymous debut by David Holmes’ offshoot band, this inexplicably never made it beyond the promo CD stage. A shame, as this is a quality EP with a strong selection of tracks. In addition to the radio edit, Roots Manuva delivers a dub of Wooden Heart that presses all the right buttons. Providing an atmospheric, bass heavy vibe, Petra Jean Phillipson’s vocals fade in and out, with Manuva himself delivering a stream of consciousness rap (which, in all honesty, is complete gibberish) midway through. Accompanying track Effectin’ is a full version of a song that initially appeared on David Holmes’ mix CD Come Get It I Got It, which also served as an introduction to The Free Association. Again, Phillipson’s voice dominates, riding a wave of rhythms and samples that should be dissonant but add texture. A great ‘lost’ single that’s worth hunting down via the likes of eBay or Music Stack.

Tracklisting: 1. (I Wish I Had A) Wooden Heart (radio edit) / 2. Effectin’ / 3. (I Wish I Had A) Wooden Heart (space hog dub by roots manuva)

Blues Explosion “Crunchy” (2005)
Although still fronting the band, Jon Spencer has taken the democratic step of dropping his name from the band. Otherwise, it’s business as usual, with no major change to the Blues Explosion template. What I’ve always liked about the band is their willingness to explore new sounds and musical directions through remixers, whilst personally ploughing the same furrow. On this EP, !!! (pronounced chk chk chk) and The DFA overhaul tracks from the Blues Explosion’s album Damage. I love the former, which introduces an infectious beat (is it bossa? is it samba? darned if I know) to some seriously funky guitar chords. The vocals are a strange mix of Matt Johnson’s distorted delivery on his early 1980s The The albums and New Order’s Bernard Sumner. Every time I play it, I have a compelling urge to crank the volume up to max and sashay around the room. The DFA take a more typical route to the dancefloor, with repetitive one-note keyboards and an insistent rhythm bolstering Mars, Arizona. Spencer’s performance is largely untouched here and rides above the clashing guitar and bass breaks that inform the first half of the mix, and the oozing electronic bleeps that dominate the second. By contrast, Blues Explosion Man is a stripped down, live acoustic take which gives full vent to the Spencer spleen. It’s classic blues approach should stick out like a sore thumb next it’s club-focused companions, but neatly rounds off an essential EP.

Tracklisting: 1. Crunchy (tmj (!!!) remix) / 2. Mars, Arizona (dfa remix) / 3. Blues Explosion Man (live at fmu)

Franz Ferdinand
Brainwashed's Cabaret Voltaire site
Richard H. Kirk
François Kevorkian
David Holmes presents The Free Association
Roots Manuva
Blues Explosion
Brainwashed's !!! site

Posted by Picasa


Post a Comment

<< Home