Get Color was my favourite album of 2009. I did a list of my top 40 albums from last year, then developed a complicated points system in order to mathematically work out in what order they should come. When Health’s Get Color didn’t place at the top, I rigged the chart so it would. Take that Bombay Bicycle Club!
I even have that stupid t-shirt CD thing that you don’t even get a CD with, the ineffectual chump that I am.
Disco 2 is a dance based re-working of their second album Get Color, much like Health//Disco was to Health’s first album, with many different trendy artists invited to remix the album originals in order to create an entirely new bastardised version. And what a magnificent bastard it is.
Opening with a brand new track written by Health themselves; USA Boys is a stabby, wondrous noise, with dreamy vocals and a time signature that reaches inside your chest and fingers your heart longingly. USA Boys is my favourite thing recorded in months, and along with Caribou, Crystal Castles and Sleigh Bells this is becoming a glorious year for violent, sweaty, danceable noise pop.
Before Tigers from Get Color was all machine-gun guitars and buzzsaw trilling, masking the timid, scaredy-cat vocals. CFCF transforms it using late night African drums and lazily strummed chords, later giving way to a pumping sex rhythm and seventies squelch. Ace. In Heat, the most frightening track on the original is taken by Javelin and given some slap bass, Hall and Oates percussion and sleazy RnB synths; a deeply satisfying experience.
Die Slow, easily the standout track and possibly most accessible, is here given the most conventional treatment, but Tobacco earns top marks for making it sound like the theme to a schools science programme from 1978. Small Black, whose own single Despicable Dogs bridges the gap between shoegaze and glitch-pop, gives barely listenable noise experiment Severin a refreshing child-like simplicity.
Disappointingly Gold Panda’s Before Tigers goes for a fairly mediocre Warp-esque, ambient, drip-pop makeover, but does gorgeous work with the aforementioned buzzsaw trilling. Eat Flesh’s soundtrack to torture porn is given a languid and typical Crystal Castles mix, nowhere near the career launching moment for both bands that previous Castles’ mix Crimewave became.
In Violet, Get Color’s most straightforward and obviously danceable track goes dark, brooding and damn slow with Salem at the helm. Nice Girls’ hesitant guitars are turned into dull and unearned euphoric trance. Then Pictureplane’s take on Die Slow is a straight up club track. Again nice but dull.
Finally it’s the double header of Little Loud’s gorgeous, chill-wave synths and strings take on Nice Girls and Blindoldfreak’s tonally modulating and barely existing Before Tigers that resumes the agile genius of the rest of the album. All of this plus a second downloadable CD of 12 more remixes, including the insane Yip Yip mix, proves that Health are at the top of their noise-terror/toe-tapping game. And I love them for it. AND YOU WILL TOO!
For explanations of the phrases glitch-pop, chillwave, drip-pop and seventies squelch please consult your local scenester.
Words: Christopher Ratcliff
Listen: HEALTH – Disco 2