PNAU - Good Morning To The Night Album Review
When it comes to remixing (or reimagining) golden oldies, it can either sound very good (take Norman Cook's work with countless blues numbers) or very bad indeed (tune into Radio 1 for a smorgasbord of terrible remakes and rehashes). Pnau would always be likely to raise eyebrows when they were chosen to re-working Sir Elton John's back catalogue, but when you've been hand-picked by the man himself then you have to imagine that Elton is a guy who knows what he wants.
As surprising as it may seem for some sceptics, but with Good Morning To The Night, Pnau have produced eight unpredictably brilliant pop chunks, even retaining the same originality and pop shine the songs had in the first place. With access to the master tapes of what many see as the peak of Elton's creative period; 1970-76 (although some inclusions such as 1978's 'A Single Man' and 1981's 'The Fox' make it on to the album), then there can't have been much more pressure to do Elton proud with the LP - and they've done him proud that's for sure.
Probably the most sensible thing the guys did when taking on the project was, rather than attempting to redo 'Crocodile Rock' or 'Rocket Man', they've steered away from his biggest hits and instead sample up to nine tracks in one song, almost blending them into such a state that they're almost unrecognisable.
'Sad', the second single from the album, perhaps contains the most recognisable track, but rather than rehash the chorus the guys have ingeniously used the refrain ("it's sad/so sad") as the new chorus, whilst 'Crazy Water', 'Curtains' and a few other obscure tracks make up the rest of the track. It is every bit the Balearic Ibiza sunset soundtrack, along with the song 'Foreign Fields', that could play over a thousand beaches and still not lose any of the flavour or shine after it's millionth play.
The title track and first single is one of the tracks that moves the party indoors and is already a club hit. Working off Elton's 'Mona Lisa' and 'Mad Hatters' the album opener's looped guitars soon turn into a horizon-sized synth sweep that commands feet to be stomped and hands in the air.
What makes a good electronic album great is knowing that you can put it on from your iTunes, even when you're by yourself, and you'll enjoy it. The brassiness of 'Black Icy Stare' makes it one of the most intriguing and entertaining electronic mixes in recent memory. The album overall succeeds in what it set out to do and at 8-tracks long it is a perfect length for this kind of Balearic house, never once sounding self-indulgent or over-long.
When we interviewed Peter Mayers of Pnau earlier this year, he, quite frankly said of the prospect of reworking Elton's material; "Wow! What if we f*ck this up?" What if they did? They might very well be looking to hang up their production hats for good and go work in a supermarket somewhere. Luckily for everyone though, they're still making music now, and Sydney's supermarkets are still missing the talents of Littlemore and Mayers on their tills.
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