IQU: Teenage Dream

Teenage Dream

Tempered hurrahs for indie trip d’n’b pop. Tempered because for the last few years attempts at melding phat and phunky beats, indie guitar and clever samples have seemed more adequate as theory but rather short of genius as practice (unless you count marketing as practice). If it’s going to work, it’s got to be downright different and executed with some panache. The same sort of qualifiers can be lobbed at the remix album, the messy darling child of indie kids and post-rock adults who like to dance and think.

Bringing together the acoustic in the form of standup bass with the synthetic by adding a dash of oriental flair with Japanese samples and machine beats, and then running them through a few mixmaster filters, IQU’s Teenage Dream Remix EP comes across as just a little bit more than the same. Taking a cue from a slew of indie bands who’ve lately cozied up with DJs and remixers (Stereolab, High Llamas, Tortoise, Pastels), and by following the K Records’ branches leading them out beyond indie rock, their hybrid sound seemed ripe for re-doing.

With remixes coming from Looper, Lexaunculpt and Sonic Boom (among others), a single cut “Teenage Dream” is done and redone, some with passable success. There are versions here that close-in on interesting, but with a grating guitar riff which seems a bit to power-chordish for our own good, so that most of the remixes that dwell on it seem more disabled by rather than inspired. The Lexaunculpt cut does it some justice though, with blips and beats swirling around a broken down bare bones abstract cut-up version that works its transformative magic. Subtle and mildly compelling, it’s probably the best version here, genuinely leaving the original behind. The Team 714 remix dissolves the cut into a downtempo trip hop ditty and the Tokyo and Kids Dubbreaks Mix by Dub ID puts a loose acid jazz spin on things, funking up the cut in much the same way that Take One and Red Clay do. Concentrik’s Bad Blood Mix stretches things out a little more, adding a little distortion and depth (and it sounds much like a Charlatans single circa 1990).

The CD adds two bonus remixes of “Can’t You Even Remember That?,” redone courtesy K.O., an IQU member, and Spectrum’s Sonic Boom. There’s theremin wafting through each cut, ably revisiting a single track from Chotto Matte A Moment! (1998), an album proper that offered up a good mix of tempos and textures. Furiously upbeat and hauntingly mellow respectively, these cuts come across as the most pleasing ones on offer, less about grafting disparate parts together and more about reassembling, rearranging, and generally keeping things interesting. Shame really, because much of what IQU do I felt was so much more attention-grabbing earlier on.