The Units, like most punk bands of the late 70s to early 80s, were very much focused on what they want to achieve with their music. Unlike the candy-coated bands that masquerade as alternative music today, one could never accuse the punk (and post-punk) scene of being anything less than impassioned. Political meaning and artistic sentiment were the driving force behind punk bands and The Units were no different. This is shown aptly by the rant on their myspace about hating guitar clichés. Well if, “Fuck the guitars, why couldn’t music change” is anything to go by. I don’t know if The Units wrote this themselves or someone else did it on their behalf but it’s still a mantra for the innovative musician. So The Units were born and went on to become a seminal Synth Punk band that rode on the first wave of the post-punk movement, along side their more obvious contemporaries such as Devo.
So what’s all this got to do with now? Well, Germanic record label Relish has released one of their singles, ‘High Pressure Days’ as a collection of remixes, this one in particular by the dab hand of Rory Phillips a rather excellent London based DJ.
And it is good. Great in fact. It’s more phat, warp style dance, yet still remains faithful enough to the original to sound like Talking Heads with its David Bynre-esk vocals or Public Image Limited with its blatant quirkiness. As a stand-alone tune it’s fantastic.
The thing is, remixes are a funny business. There is a small section of music purists who will always view them with disdain. To them, remixes are an unnecessary butchering, removing a song from its rightful context only to shove it through a dance-o-matic machine and spit it out onto a dance floor full of jaw-wobbling, uncaring clubbers all covered in big beats and shining production. This wouldn’t matter so much if it weren’t from such a heartfelt band, which oddly, has obviously agreed to these remixes. It’s taking an uncommercial, alternative punk tune and smoothing off the edges to make it more listenable. It’s about as far from the punk ethic as you can get. And, damn you Rory Phillips, it would be easier to dislike this record if it wasn’t so bloody good.