Present Tense is the fourth album from the Kendal band Wild Beasts which was released to critical acclaim on 24th of February this year. The album peaked at no.10 in the UK album chart supported by the release of three excellent singles “Wanderlust”, “A Simple Beautiful Truth” and the sublime “Mecca”. Now Domino Records have decided to release a “Special Edition” of the album with a bonus disc of 9 remixes. The bonus disc includes previous available remixes of the first 3 singles plus 2 new mixes of “Palace”.
I must admit I approached the bonus disc with a slight trepidation as I think “Present Tense” is probably one of the most outstanding albums of the last 5 years and I could not see how remixes would improve on the beauty of the original versions. I have to say that I feel many of the remixes have fallen flat on their faces and add little to the original brilliance of songs.
The guiltiest of all is the extremely clumsy remix of Mecca by Juan Atkins which I find deeply jarring compared to the sublime beauty of the original song and the same can be said about the Factory Floor remix of “Wanderlust”. I’m a huge fan of Factory Floor but I found the remix extremely pointless, bearing absolutely no resemblance to the originaland going nowhere.
However Sohn’s gorgeous remix of Mecca is a pleasure to behold. He has managed to embrace all the beauty of the original whilst adding his own soundscape, making this quite a remarkable collaboration. Another outstanding moment is the Foals dark pulsing remix of “Palace” which has only been released on a white label 12” single before now. Another remix worth a listen is the East India Youth, Remix of “A Simple Beautiful Truth” which again manages to maintain some of the original beauty whilst adding new rhythms and textures.
None of the remixes come close to sublime genius and beauty of the original songs but then it would be an impossible task to compete with such a complete masterpiece. However if the listener treats the bonus disc as companion volume, they find themselves pleasantly surpised. Anyway no music fan can have too many copies of “Present Tense”