CD, Lado Z/Wave Propaganda, 2005
I have to admit that when handed this particular album, I didn’t actually have a clue on what to expect. Having only heard the track “The 3 Cold Men”, the idea of describing what a remix album of theirs would sound like, seemed like a daunting task to undertake to say the least! I was also at the disadvantage of not actually hearing their debut album of the same name, so comparing the remixes to the originals wasn’t even an option. To describe the overall sound of the 3 Cold Men thankfully though was a fairly straightforward task. If you could meld all the electronic sounds of 80’s and 90’s new wave/electropop in with a rather large chunk of what the coldwave scene has brought to us, then you’ll probably have a rough idea of the band’s overall concept.
Is it just me, or do intro tracks seem to be improving as the year’s pass? “My Greatest Greta (Dubious Dancing King Mix)” is a very good example of this. Being one of the two tracks on the album that the 3 Cold Men have remixed themselves, you can hear that a great deal of effort went into making this track a stunning introduction piece. Being one of the newer tracks that the band have completed, it also makes it interesting to hear how they are looking to expand their sound with the next album. Following that we have yet another stunning remix courtesy of People Theatre. Given about a minute and a half into “The Tower (People Theatre’s Closer Mix)” the listener is embraced with a catchy synth lead, that seems somewhat impossible to escape from. For me, it was quite easily one of the highlights of the album. Moving on through the remixes of “Don’t Pretend” and “Truth” (which surprisingly even though that the latter is a Dust Of Basement mix, it just didn’t seem to keep the same amount of steam that the two previous tracks provide), I came across “I Need You (Whebba Turns The Light Off Mix)”. This track was just simply ferocious! A well-layered drum loop and alarming brutality to the mix really does add nicely to the overall presentation of the song. For a lighter touch on the album, and I would say one of the strongest tracks on the entire disc, the following track “X-Fragile (Peter Elliot Mix)” is a much-needed breath-catcher from the mix for “I Need You”. Its slow paced piano and guitar, combined with its subtle chorus lead and Franck Lopez’s sleepy vocals, makes this one stand apart in an almost detached sense from the rest of the remixes. The next track to grab my attention was “3 Cold Men (Celluloide Remix Illustre)”. Being it that I had heard the original, I was expecting a big difference in the remix but this wasn’t the case. As with the original, it keeps its pop roots but adds just a slightly larger hint of a cheer in its step. If you were to choose one track for the dance floor, then I think you would have found what you were looking for within this.
The one thing you can’t help but notice about “Urban Remixes”, is its sheer diversity of musical input. The artists providing the remixes have clearly been well thought out beforehand, and a good handful of the tracks have a genre-bending quality to them. Its only real flaw, minus a couple of substandard fillers, is that it probably won’t attract any newcomers to the synthpop scene. For the more hardened of retro new wave and electropop listeners though, this could provide a nice little break from the norm.
— Paul Marcham