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We Go Forward


The Silent League


Something in Construction

Release Date:


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A while back EvilSponge was mailed a promo announcement for this record. The email contained links to download a few songs, as many such emails do, and permission to share them with you, our readers. I evaluate all the things that we share, so i grabbed the songs, copied them up to my phone, and didn't think much about it. However, the songs that i downloaded kept coming up in the random mix, and i liked them. So i did some research on The Silent League and asked their promo person for the whole record.

The Silent League is, apparently, the project of Justin Russo, who used to be in Mercury Rev. Apparently he has released three well-received post-rock records under this name. Huh. We Go Forward is twelve tracks, of which 10 are remixes of tracks taken from all three of The Silent League's records, one is a cover of a Broken Social Scene song, and one is a cover of a Chameleons song done in collaboration with the band Maps.

Things get off to an auspicious start with the 9OP Remix of Let it Roll. This comes across as a quirky Britpop lounge tune, like if Esquivel had been from Brighton and not Mexico. This is catchy, happy, and very poppy, just a great toe-tappingly fun tune. But don't trust me: go and grab it yourself.

The second track, the link to which has since disappeared from the Internet (sorry) is for the Neon Indian remix of Here's a Star. I am not all that familiar with Neon Indian, although i have heard good things about this act. Well, this remix is pretty good. The voice is whinier and higher pitched than on the previous remix, but the voice is wrapped in that shimmering German electronica sound that i associate with Morr Records and Kompakt. It moves at a good groove, and again is really fun.

The third track (which you can grab for free here) is a cover of the song Texico Bitches originally by Broken Social Scene. I am not that familiar with the original (it is not a BSS song that has stuck in my mind), but Russo turns in a cover that is fast-paced and catchy. It doesn't have the inherent messiness that i associate with BSS (as in, in their work there is so much going on that they always seem just one step away from chaos while Russo's version seems more controlled), but there are strings and a great beat. Wonderful stuff.

And those are the three free tacks that prompted me to ask for a copy of this record. Sadly, they are far and away the best tracks on this record. We Move Forward is not the best remix record i have heard lately. Most of the remixes seem to take a very minimal approach to remixing. That is, for most of the tunes here, if i did not know that it was a remix, i would think it was the original.

These are post-rock tunes, sometimes with a lot of echo and almost always with layers of strings. These tunes move along at a generally slow pace, and while they are not awful, they are not as interesting as the three freebies had led me to believe. This is the problem with giving away your best work -- it sets up an expectation, and failure to meet an expectation can make people look more poorly on your work than they would have if you had saved the best for last. There is actually a fair amount of psychological research on this. It is in your best interest to keep some of your best work back, to be revealed after you have got someone to buy in to what you are doing. (Brendan's Note: So that's why some of your early reviews on EvilSponge are pretty awful.)

That said, there are two other tracks i want to discuss. Yours Truly, 2095 is remixed by Memory Tapes, an ambient artist i have been enjoying for some time now. Memory Tapes make this song into a silly synthpop tune, with a slippery bass live and the lyric "since I loved you" looped echoed all to hell and back. Then a keyboard comes in, driving the song forward. This reminds me of the very early work of Depeche Mode, when Vince Clarke was still in the band. It is just plain synthpop fun.

And then we have the cover of Tears, originally by The Chameleons, here performed by The Silent League and Maps. The drums are synthed and there is a crazy amount of echo on the voice. The voice, sadly, is not as deep and rich as that of Mark Burgess, and having the tinny synth drums loses a lot over the original power rhythms of The Chameleons. This version is okay, but i would rather just put on my copy of Strange Times and hear the original.

So, overall, this record is kind of a mixed bag. I suppose that if i were familiar with the originals, some of these remixes might make more sense. It does have some high points, and you can get two of them for free, so that is something. And i guess it does serve its purpose, which is that i now am curious to listen to the original records by The Silent League.

Related Links:

   Let It Roll (90P Remix)
   Texico Bitches (Broken Social Scene Cover)


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