Review Summary: You Can't Do This Alone remixes old material in the right way.
The remix business is an iffy one to get into. I suppose when you look at a good majority of remix albums that have hit the market and become instantly horrible misfires, it’s more than possible the poor reception is down to an emotional connection the listener has with the original compositions and the biases that go with it, but more often than not I think it’s down to the artists failing the source material. I’m no stranger to admit I largely despise this kind of gimmicky album making, bar a few rare exceptions (HEALTH’s DISCO
series being a noteworthy exception), but then, I’d never heard of Lamniformes – a one-man expedition birthed by multi-instrumentalist Ian Cory – before this and thus never had any preconceived expectations or attachments to the original songs being remixed here. And that’s a curious point to make: are these tracks great because I’d never heard the originals until after this album, or would Lamniformes’ endeavours be embraced with a very select few who make this kind of thing interesting? The truth is, that reservation can only be made by someone who enjoyed these songs as they were originally conceived. So, while I’m not the guy to offer a comparatively educated take on the original songs and how they compare with these very different remixes, I can judge them based on their own merits, and when you look at it in that regard, this is an engaging and emotional post-rock journey, brimming with haunting ambiences and enough capricious turns to make it rewarding for revisits.
The record is filled with serene soundscapes that stand out as the central talking point here. Throughout most of the album, You Can't Do This Alone
sounds like it has rooted adulation for a number of soundtracks. When the record slips into “Le Fiamme dell' Est (Fabio Brienza Mix)”, with its poignant, wispy guitar notes delicately shimmering over delay-laden drum beats and forbidding bass slides, the comparisons to Hotline Miami’s neo-80s videogame soundtrack are undeniable, and better yet, thoroughly welcoming. The same goes for “Deep Despair in Covington, KY (Noumenah Mix)”, as it opens up with those mystifying Blade Runner-esque synths; there’s a lot here that pays homage to these iconic sounds. However, it’s not all moody instrumental compositions that sound as though they belong in a Hollywood blockbuster. There’s an abundance of post-rock elements at the heart of this thing; “Hypothermia (Saint Thrillah Mix)” blends post-rock with trap beats and has an alluring vocal performance over the top of it, but the overall presentation has a mid-noughties Mogwai tranquillity to it and conjoins these two elements uniformly. While “Diminisher (Adam Holmes Mix)” combines unsettling, poignant moods with an assuring calm.
The only thing that lets You Can't Do This Alone
down is when it tries to be avant-garde. “Measured in Rings (Humeysha Mix)” feels like a glitchy, looping mess that becomes more annoying than engaging, and after the excellent “Hypothermia (Saint Thrillah Mix)” track, it’s a let-down “Hypothermia (Frank Meadows Mix)” is a hodgepodge that completely lacks focus or has anything enjoyable to present to the listener. However, don’t let these tracks deter you from checking You Can't Do This Alone
out, because it gets far more right here than it gets wrong. As far as remix albums go, this is a great one; I’d even wager it brings more highs than Lamniformes’ very solid post-metal release, Sisyphea
. Either way, Lamniformes is one to keep an eye on in the future, and You Can't Do This Alone
is well worth checking.