Review Summary: Appetite For Reconstruction is a mixed bag of candy; Some of it’s sweet and tasty, the rest of it’s gross and nasty
Super Extra Bonus Party are an aspiring electronica group with a really awesome name. Forming in 2006, their self-titled debut came out in 2007 and is a great piece of dancing fun. It showed how well the band can make electronica songs, and how fun and energetic the experience of Super Extra Bonus Party can be. Around September of this year the band decided to remix their debut album and thus came Appetite For Reconstruction. (Excuse the Guns N Roses reference; it isn’t really relevant in the album.)
Now usually I find that remix albums can’t really break free of the original songs on the normal album. But Super Extra Bonus Party have made some very unique versions of the originals on their debut album. These remixes all have different nuances and styles that have been changed up, some songs sounding completely opposite of the normal tracks. That’s not to say these remixes are better than the normal songs, because some of them really aren’t, but they have at least been sufficiently remixed.
The group definitely makes electronica songs well, they know what they’re doing. At least in terms of production, they construct these remixes very well. A major issue that they avoided is being formulaic. I find that so many electronica groups create a beat loop and one specific rhythm and replay it for four minutes. But maybe it’s the case that this is a remix album, but Super Extra Bonus Party have successfully strayed away from a routine, repeating techno album. It’s mainly because of all the wonderful quirks that the band throws in. Loops and rhythms appear in songs whenever they feel like it, complete breakdowns come up spontaneously, it really makes a compelling listen.
But the reason this album is at a 2.5 is despite the bands charm, their ability to actually remix the songs, and the surprising nuances to all of the songs, most of these remixes just aren’t very good. All of this charm and musicianship just can’t save the boring loops, awkward sounds and plain out dreadful songs. That’s definitely not to say that all of these tracks are bad, because there are some wonderful and great techno moments in Appetite For Reconstruction, but the bad songs in this 16 track record really do suck. Super Noise(Deep Burial Space Opera Anti-climix) is a great example of the albums bad spots. The song starts out with a some-what eerie, creepy, but down-right annoying beat loop. Despite the group’s ability to sprinkle little quirks over the song to spice it up, the bulk and root of the song is simply bad, and it’s really un-savable from that point.
But when the core of the song is great, and all the charm and quirks are present, the album really takes form and is able to really shine as a great electronica album. Everything Flows(Cadence Weapon Mix) is one of the albums strongest point. A mesmerizing vocal loop of chanting “Everything, everything flows” begins the song. Then an impressive rhythm track underneath emerges and the song takes off. Halfway through the song, the experience gets even better. The rhythm and loop speed up continuously, until a hyper, euphoric break-down occurs, and this section is possibly the album’s greatest moment. Other songs are quite impressive; The epic, seven minute long Propeller on the self titled is remixed into a quick four minute track that features all of the great moments of the original song, but it is tightened up, yet not overdone whatsoever. Drone Rock(Decal Remix) is the starter to the album and is a real rocker. An infectious guitar part comes in to draw you in, and then the synth blasts you with techno pleasure.
There is so much positive for this album, the instrumentation is impressive; The drumming on Propeller(Nouveaunoise Mix) is exceptional, the lazy and effortless guitar playing in Erosion(Dead Fader Mix) are really effective. The quirks are usually elegantly placed and add wonderful textures to the remixes, but sometimes the band overdoes it. For instance, Dorothy Goes Home(Ed Devane’s Mega reRemix) has the majority of the song consisting of a Steven Hawkings-esque voice speaking on how he made the remix, but then no real song emerges, which is basically slapping the listener across the face. The last song on the album, On The Skyline(Prince Kong Nabokov Mix) features so many spontaneous sounds emerging that the song gets muddled and just hard to listen to. Not to mention the obvious sexual references in the song, with a vocal loop being “popping my cherry.”
I applaud Super Extra Bonus Party for their great efforts into making a distinguished remix album, and the band definitely has a great future in music. They have an easy talent to put unique sounds and spins to every song. The reason this album suffers is simply because most of the remixes are down right bad. It’s a shame the album is so patchy, or this could have been a solid techno album. I have high hopes for Super Extra Bonus Party and I know that they can come up with some better loops next time around.
Drone Rock(Decal Mix)
Erosion(Dead Fader Mix)
Everything Flows(Cadence Weapon Mix)*