Review of Disco 2 Album by Health

For those of you unfamiliar with them, as themselves LA four piece HEALTH are a mass of shimmering, discordant white noise, punk-shoegaze atrophy and rolling drums; both their eponymous debut album and it's 2009 successor Get Color raised an appreciative critical eyebrow or two.

Health Disco 2 Album

Disco 2 (The imaginatively titled follow up to its similarly conceived predecessor Health/Disco) takes the majority of Get Colors tracks and pits them against a host of remixers, the highest profile arguably being Toronto anti-stars Crystal Castles. You'd think that, given the base ingredients, a poop storm of strobe laden, vertebrae threatening fuzzy, Fuck Buttons-esque mayhem would automatically ensue, right? Well..

The problem is that the results are not quite as anyone may have predicted. Taking HEALTH's edgy, post-industrial skronk and fashioning it into something even vaguely melodic would have seemed an unlikely objective, but Disco 2 is if anything remarkably polite, shedding virtually any hint of experimentation.

The formula which has produced this appears to be to strip each original song back virtually down to Jared Miller's ghostly vocals and let the mixers do the rest, leaving any sensory disorientation to the listener's choice. CFCF's working of Before Tigers is therefore a gentle, reggae infused lilt, whilst Gold Panda's effort with the same track sounds like The Field's take on MBV's Loveless. Despite this tendency to hold back generally making things antiseptic, there are real moments of promise though, with Small Black infusing Severin full of wobbly homemade techno charm, and Little Loud rendering Nice Girls into bouncy synth pop a la mode.

The final word though inevitably has to go to Crystal Castles, whose take on Eat Flesh sounds like an atheist choir performing with a glitchy Amiga programmed on random, augmented by bleeps and beeps stolen from NASA. It's by far the most challenging/interesting thing about Disco 2, and proof that electronic music can still carry a threat whilst trying out for the dancefloor. You doubt HEALTH get to clubs very often, but if they did, you sense that they'd demand much more of the same.

Andy Peterson

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