It’s normally difficult for me to get excited about remix albums. But then, remix albums aren’t normally by I Monster. The companion to their recent compilation Rare, Remixed covers similar ground by collecting together all the different versions of the singles from their palindromic 2003 album Neveroddoreven.
Remixed kicks off with a completely new remix of Daydream in Blue by French band The Penelopes, which is totally brilliant, adding a bit of drum and bass backing to the track. You then get a reminder of the original version in all its quite exceptional glory.
The album actually kicks off, rather uncomfortably, with a full anthology of eight different versions of the huge hit single. Third up is the excellent Playdream Mix by the band themselves, which appeared on the UK CD single so should be fairly familiar.
Other remixes are perhaps less inspiring. The more hard house-flavoured Medicine Remix is acceptable, but it does drag on for a long time, and the delay effect on the backing becomes a little irritating after a minute or two. The Monster Butty Mix, with its slightly Euro leanings, drags similarly.
But then things pick up again inordinately, with the UK garage stylings of the two Basement vs. KL remixes, still of Daydream in Blue. Perhaps surprisingly, I’ve always had a bit of a fondness for garage, maybe because I know next to nothing about it. This pair of remixes is quite excellent though.
The eighth and final version of Daydream in Blue is the Nightmare in Pink Remix. This is a sprawling dub-meets-drum and bass mix, which unlike some of its counterparts manages to retain a lot of the epic qualities of the original.
Following this, you get two versions of the single Hey Mrs.: the original version, which is exceptional, and is definitely one of the best tracks on Neveroddoreven, but this isn’t the slightly cleaner Glamour Puss Mix which appeared on the reissued version of the album, this is the version from the original album in 2003. Still pretty excellent though. Then there’s the Watkins Westminster Remix, a slightly spine-tingling spoken word version which takes the track in an entirely different direction.
This theme continues with the first of three mixes of the single Who is She? The Lesbian Lovers Remix introduces French (alternatively Polish, Basque, or Spanish, depending on how you count it) singer Marion Benoist, of whom we have not heard the last, turning the epic original (sadly lacking from this release) into a slightly odd experimental acoustic track which is very easy on the ears. The two pleasant but largely forgettable laid back Bumblebeez remixes follow, one with and the other without somebody talking over the top.
The endless tide of remixes closes with two versions of The Back Seat of My Car, again featuring the vocals of Marion Benoist. First up is the original version from the 2003 version of Neveroddoreven, which is great, but completely different from the altogether darker and grimier Sticky Black Vinyl Mix on the 2004 reissue. This is then followed by the previously unreleased Slow Mix, which switches the accordions of its predecessor for a gentle guitar sound, leaving it somewhere between the two other versions. Finally, the inappropriately named tiny little Bloated version of original album track The Blue Wrath from the film Shaun of the Dead closes proceedings in style.
Unlike its companion rarities compilation Rare, I think it’s fair to say that Remixed is more for completists. With the exception of the couple of original versions, nothing on here has ever been available to download previously, and a lot of it was never on CD, so clearly the intention is to make everything available to everyone. But a lot of the remixes are excellent, and the one or two previously unreleased versions are extremely special, so I can’t help but recommend Remixed.
If you’re a completist or want to track down some of the highlights from this release, toddle over to iTunes just here.