An Alternative Solution
(Kevin Morris, Terrorizer)
The problem with remixes generally is that they spark a cynical motive. The true purpose of a remix should be to dramatically alter (or dramatically improve) an existing song or album – when in reality it serves mostly as a buddy-system of name checking mates-bands and label-mates.
The joke in all this is that fans are then expected to pay for songs that they already own in the name of "supporting the scene" in the form of EPs, limited edition double albums and remix albums.
So, with that in mind, there's a cynical eye got to be cast on each and every remix. Is the motive to look at existing material from a new angle, or is it just the means to a quick dollar?
Now the remix-rant is out of the way, let’s get on to the album. Well, the cover is clever. It is the cover to 'A Perfect Solution' (the album being remixed) except the image is of a different angle of the street. Simple, but to the point.
The opening track 'If We Stay Here' is remixed by Zeromancer and you could be forgiven in thinking you were listening to Combichrist. The chugga-chugga guitar line is a touch reminiscent of 'This Shit Will Fuck You Up' but this is exactly the sort of thing you want from a remix, a synthpop band like Mesh being made to sound like the industrial machine of Combichrist... perfect!
Mechanical Cabaret's mix of 'Only Better' is stripped down slightly, but overall unconvincing while Robin Gigla's take of 'Everything I Made' is rather trippy.
'Is It So Hard?' has been given a bit of an edge by Iris, whilst adding some of Julia Beyer's vocal harmonies in to the blend, to create one of the albums gems.
The rest of the album is a similar mixed bag; many tracks have become laid back, which does make it a more chill-out album than 'Perfect Solution' in places. The extra guitars in 'Want You' is nice, but Parallox's take on 'Hopes.Dreams' is cringeworthy.
The amusingly titled 'Restraining Order' remix of 'Want You', completed by Informatik is a welcome relief, their added guitars makes the chorus feel a little bit Manic Street Preachers, while the remix adds an extra bleakness about the track.
The first disc ends with a very bizarre and sluggish remix of 'The Bitter End' done by the equally bizarre Portion Control.
If you’re looking at the two disc edition, there are plenty of treats on disc 2. Alien6's mix of 'Only Better' is pretty lively and almost as uplifting as the track actually is (there's a hint of optimism, "You didn't waste all that time to just leave forever"). Kloq's take on 'Everything I Made' crescendos nicely, to a choppy chorus – being battered between rocks of guitars and electronics can almost make you feel seasick, it's that rough.
'Save Everyone' has previously popped up as B-sides in the past, which is traditional of Mesh to hide so many of their great tracks. It's got a theatrical grandeur to it, almost like it's the big song in the middle of an epic performance of some Broadway Play or another.
'Hold And Restrain' was originally a vinyl B-side, enjoyable but a bit weary. The 'Full Duration Pump' mix of 'How Long?' does give the track a galloping pace, but was it really appropriate for the next track to be another remix of 'How Long'?
Like the first disc, the second disc finishes with a mix of 'The Bitter End' – considerably less bizarre than Portion Control's mix, the Celluloide Version of 'Hexagonale' has more sparkly synth layers, but still lacks the punch of the original.
Although this is a mixed bag here in terms of quality, Mesh have passed the 'cynical test', there are enough quality tracks here to suggest the motive was for a different take on the tracks – and presumably a stop-gap release while they work on their next album.
However, given the quality of 'A Perfect Solution' there is the question of whether that album should have been touched anyway – as it was a great album. But if you're a fan of the band – don't worry, they're not ripping you off with this release.