The Eternals

High Anxiety

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To tide fans over while they waited for the band's third full-length record, the Eternals issued High Anxiety, an eight-song EP comprised of remixes of or inspired by tracks on 2004's Rawar Style (the exception being "Billions of People," which was originally released on the band's self-titled 2000 album, but was re-recorded for High Anxiety to sound funkier and fuller, more like the version played during concerts). The title song itself is in high demand here, showing up on no less than three tracks, the best being the opener, "Hi Anxiety," by A Grape Dope, whose version only heightens the intensity found in the original by adding hollow bells and synths, and increasing the volume of the bass to heart-pounding levels. The effect is chilling, and it's an overall great cut. Remixing eliminates a lot of the ambient noise and fuzz that the Eternals play with in their studio albums, but this actually works to their benefit, because High Anxiety is able to retain that gritty, urban, experimental feel (that could only be in a post-industrial Rustbelt city like Chicago) while offering a more produced, or at least tighter, sound. Of course, like any remix record, there are some tracks that drag on a little too long without much happening ("By This Time Today," for example, which, even though it was done by the Eternals using bits and pieces of their own songs, gets a little boring, especially for listeners who are expecting a more rock- or dub-driven record), but most of them have enough activity and intricacy to move along nicely. Chances are the Eternals will stick to their "traditional" arrangements in the future, which isn't a bad thing, but if they continue to experiment with some of the electronic/hip-hop sensibilities that they show off here, their next record could be a pretty exciting release.

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