Very rarely does a rock band release a "remix album," and that's fine by us. In most cases, producers just strip the most identifiable vocals from a song and plop them down over cookie-cutter club beats. So why bother?
It makes more sense in the case of the Dismemberment Plan, a group that has always imbued its indie-rock rave-ups with funk, R&B, and dance sensibility. The Plan also found a new way to twist the formula by posting the raw recordings for its back catalog on the web and inviting anyone -- friends, fans, strangers -- to have a go at remixing them. And, of course, the band also guaranteed that the resulting album will be its last.
Though the results are mixed (no pun intended), there are some definite standouts. In Quruli's revision of "Life of Possibilities," Travis Morrison's vocals hover poignantly above an atmospheric mix of reinterpreted guitar melodies and rolling, subliminal percussion. ASCDI offers a hip-hop mash-up of "Time Bomb," bringing Squarepusher-like rhythm-splattering effects to bear on every element of the original. Ev takes home top honors with a re-rub of "The City" that nestles Morrison's vocals among Kruder and Dorfmeister-quality trip-hop beats, a gloriously sunny synth melody, and a jazzy trumpet solo from James Olcott.
The stylistic diversity of these remixes makes a strong argument for the adaptability of the Plan's music. It seems a shame that this will be their last History lesson.