Dependent on the strength of the source material or on the skills of the remixer, remixes can often be slippery prospects which fly in one of a few directions. Occasionally a remix can totally transform a track into something completely brilliant and supersede the original (see for example Lykke Li’s I Will Follow - The Magician Remix). Sometimes a remix adds nothing new to the original and leaves a listener scratching their head as to what, if anything, is sufficiently different enough to the original.
However, even more rarely, sometimes a remix can push a song in a completely new and unexpected direction with fantastic results - this can certainly be said for The Twilight Sad’s latest release. This collection of remixes, released in album format, are each based from stems of tracks from their last album No One Can Ever Know. With a list of collaborators that includes Optimo, Com Truise, Liars and The Horrors the album was always going to be far too interesting to be deemed a filler release. The original album has flourishes of electronics, pounding beats, drum machines and synths aplenty. Anyone who is a fan of the source material will find much to love in this collection which benefits greatly from repeated listening.
Furthermore, based purely on my personal highlights - Com Truise’s reinterpretation of Sick, The Horrors Dub mix of Not Sleeping or Liar’s remix of Nil - there is a lot to like for anyone into electronica or any non Twilight Sad fans out there. Further highlights include Brokenchord’s version of the track Sick, which bookmark the album and take James’s normally trademark brooding vocals into an unrecognisable place with an interesting outcome.
The band see it as a companion piece to the original album, which is in keeping with the bands previous form (to mark each album with a side release), and for that purpose this collection makes total sense in its style and overall mood. If played blindfolded you would be hard pushed to recognise many tracks as being from The Twilight Sad which is a credit to how good the remixers are: the majority of the tracks on this release are actually fantastic. Most interestingly of all is the fact that the band actively sought out to work with the parties involved on this release, which leaves us wondering where Twilight Sad's sound will go next. In the meantime this album offers a tantalising glimpse of a band experimenting with a potential new direction to great effect.
No One Can Ever Know - The Remixes is out now on FatCat Records.