Bloc Party

Silent Alarm Remixed

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As the sticker on the album's cover states, Silent Alarm Remixed is "a track-by-track reinvention of Bloc Party's stunning debut album by some of their favorite artists." While it might seem a little soon for this kind of reinvention, some of these remixes date back to the band's earliest EPs, such as the reworking of "Banquet" by Phones (aka Bloc Party and Maximo Park producer Paul Epworth). Not surprisingly, the quality of the remixes varies: Ladytron's uninspired take on "Like Eating Glass" turns the original's fist-pumping fervor into a puddle of synth strings and looped vocals that drown in reverb, but Whitey's version of "Helicopter" -- which moves from xylophones and wolf howls to bare, brazen guitars and back -- is rawer, weirder, and arguably a lot more interesting than its source. Silent Alarm Remixed ends up feeling like a polarized version of Silent Alarm, with both its soft and strident sides emphasized. As on the original album, the prettier moments are often the most powerful ones. It would be difficult to make "Blue Light" anything less than gorgeous, but the Engineers' aptly named "Anti-Gravity Mix" truly is stunning. M83's version of "The Pioneers," Four Tet's "So Here We Are," and Mogwai's "Plans" also share a frosty, remote quality that is achingly lovely. The remixes of Bloc Party's harder-edged songs don't all fare quite as well: despite its frenetic IDM makeover, "Positive Tension" is still kind of dull. On the other hand, "Price of Gasoline" sounds better as spiky electronica than it did as angular nu-post-punk, and "Luno" kicks harder in Death from Above 1979's hands. Though not every "reinvention" on Silent Alarm Remixed is great, it's more consistent than most remix collections, and actually functions surprisingly well as an album in its own right for that very reason. [Like certain versions of Silent Alarm itself, Silent Alarm Remixed was also available with a bonus EP that featured three previously unreleased tracks, "Storm and Stress," the excellent "Always New Depths," and "Skeleton," along with acoustic versions of "Storm and Stress" and "Plans."]

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