It’s been 42 days since it’s release and I’ve only just realised that I’d missed the boat (once again) on what, for me, is the most anticipated album of the year. It’s now been 43 days and I’ve had the chance to give HEALTH’s HEALTH::Disco 2 a proper listen.
First impressions: Fudging hell.
HEALTH have managed to do it again. They have this whole band lark completely sussed, and in three simple steps.
Step 1: Release an album that’s so messy and unconventional, yet so planned and so painstakingly orchestrated that the music world can’t help but take notice.
Step 2: Gather all your super-cool-up-and-coming-producer friends and get them to remix the album.
Step 3: Repeat.
Simple, eh? Well definitely. That is if you’re friends with genre defining bands and producers like Crystal Castles, who were virtually unknown before they remixed your song. Ok, so maybe it’s not as simple as I made out, but what has really helped HEALTH is the fact that they have maintained relations with the bands that were responsible for the truly amazing HEALTH//DISCO (Lets face it, anything with Crystal Castles on it is going to sell, particularly after the masterpiece that was (II)). Alongside remixes from a lot of new faces (Small Black, Salem, Tobacco, Javelin to name just a few), who promise to be the next Pictureplane, CFCF, and (if they’re lucky) Crystal Castles, this album looks set to follow in the footsteps of it’s predecessor; unique, innovative and essential.
HEALTH::Disco2 opens with a new song; USA Boys, which, pretty much goes against the whole purpose of a remix album. Having said this, USA Boys works. It’s reminiscent of Glitter Pills off HEALTH’s first album, with its glitch-hop beat and overly distorted synths, a recurring theme of HEALTH::Disco2.
USA Boys is followed by a CFCF remix of Before Tigers and guess what. It’s 80s a fuck. No surprise there then.
Come to think of it, there’s very little surprising about this album; we all knew it was going to be good, we all knew it would feature the likes of CFCF and Pictureplane and we all knew it would be pretty genre busting. The only real surprise is how much darker this album is compared to HEALTH//DISCO.
While HEALTH//DISCO had more 80s synths, bleeps and glitches than the Thompson Twins making sweet, sweet love to a Sega Master System, HEALTH::Disco2 begins with shoegazey, dream poppy, glitch-hop, but evolves into something much, much darker, with Crystal Castles’ remix of Eat Flesh acting as a catalyst, resulting in the second half feeling like a big grey cloud of glitchy, danceable goodness. Perhaps the only exception to this much darker half comes in the form of Pictureplanes remix of Die Slow, which pretty much conforms to the experimental, tropical house that you’d expect from Pictureplane. HEALTH::Disco2 ends on Blindoldfreak’s beautifully epic remix of Before Tigers, which is a truly amazing end to the album.
Overall, there’s not much you can fault this album for. It has everything that you’d expect from a HEALTH remix album, alongside a few little surprises. It lives up to the hype and expectation, but only just falls short of topping its older sibling. I seriously recommend downloading this album, and if you don’t already own HEALTH//DISCO, then get on that too.