Rex the Dog is one of those names that used to keep turning up a decade or so ago, as the remixer to whatever your latest favourite hit was. Pretty much out of nowhere, he self-released his debut (and to date, only) album The Rex the Dog Show ten years ago.
After a brief Intro track (something about dogs), we launch in with Maximize 2008, an updated version of a 2006 12″ single that Rex the Dog had released through a real record company. It’s a pulsating electro instrumental piece with an uplifting feel and a whole load of great acid noises. It’s a great way to launch the album.
Next is Gecko, featuring the triumphant return of the 1980s orchestral hit. The vocal seems pretty 1980s-inspired somehow too, and there are huge snares, but in general it still manages to sound pretty contemporary. But Bubbilicious is the track that gives us the first real taste of genius on here – the first few tracks were good, but they were clearly building up to this. It’s built, rather unpredictably, around a couple of lines of Yazoo‘s Midnight, and it does have a bit of a bootleg feel, but it also works very well.
Debut single Prototype follows, a nice, uplifting instrumental electro piece with throbbing bass and pad swells. Then Heartsong is a pleasant little instrumental interlude that carries us through to Heartbeats, actually a song by The Knife, remixed for their 2004 single release. The Knife are one of those acts that I’ve always felt I should like more than I actually do, so I’m not sure I like this mix as much as I want to either, but it’s certainly not bad.
Circulate was another 12″, released in 2007, and is an appropriate name for this rotating dance track. Sometimes I feel as though things like this might work better on the 12″ single, though – on an album, I do expect something a little less… dull?
Next are The Sounds, with Tony the Beat, which is pretty good – it’s nice to have these excursions into melodic tracks (through the remixes) between the more repetitive tracks such as I Can See You, Can You See Me? This is a good album, but there aren’t really a lot of surprises here, for the most part.
As you reach the end, though, your opinion on that may change – Itchy Scratchy is an intriguing early example of glitchy electro, and is strangely enjoyable. Then Italian Skyline, with its pained, processed pads, is an early taster for Italian Blond, which is hiding in amongst the bonus tracks. Suddenly now, towards the end, we appear to be getting all the great tracks that we should have had all the way through.
Frequency, too, previously the second single from 2004, is a great acid-infused dance piece, and so while, in spite of a great processed vocal, the closing track I Look Into Mid Air resonates less, you do leave this album feeling pretty positive on the whole. We can probably all agree that it isn’t the best album ever recorded, but for the most part, it is pretty good.
You can still find The Rex the Dog Show on release – go for the version with four bonus tracks if you find a copy.