This new split EP from the My Favorite Robot label features just two tracks but there is enough here to make it an interesting listen. The label have been fairly successful in pairing up artists in the past, whether on their 'Stimulus Package' series of their previous split EPs.
Up first is Tiger Stripes - real name Mikael Nodgren - who hails from Stokholm and has already released material on My Favourite Robot Records earlier this year in the form of his Crossroads EP.
Here Nodgren delivers a twisted piece of electronic soul. Both the vocals from Pete Fij and the overall production style recall eighties synth pop but the track is dark even given the sounds it references - Soft Cell and Depeche Mode. The track features a fluid sounding bass line and ghostly synths that provide a contrast to the largely mechanical rhythms and together it's an emotional track that still manages to work in a club setting.
My Favorite Robot is the trio of James Teej, Jared Simms and Voytek Koran and here they team up with London's Silky to create a new take on Tears For Fears' 'Shout'. It's difficult to assess such a record without an emotional response based on the original record. For me, that connection probably makes this track seem both better and worse than it actually is.
In my view Tears For Fears are probably one of the finest bands on the eighties, all three of their original albums as a duo demonstrating a fantastic combination of songwriting and stellar production work across a range of classic tracks. Of these 'Shout' is clearly one of the best known, Roland Orzabel's vocal instantly recognisable against the drum-heavy track.
Remixing something so iconic is either bold, foolish or perhaps both. Whilst this track remains enjoyable it ultimately loses more than it gains as it comes under My Favorite Robot's surgeon's scalpel. The original version's giant drum sound is replaced with an appropriately large alternative but it lacks the same bite. The punchy bell-chimes that feature in the original are dropped so low in the mix as to render them impotent, meaning a key distinctive part of the track (and one that would survive remixing well) gets lost. On the plus side the acid-heavy extended bridge and outro is where the value is, chunky drum-sets and some vicious bass ensuring it will sound ferocious on the dance floor.
Out Of Phase / Shout is out on Monday through My Favorite Robot Records.