Various Artists - You Don
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Various Artists
You Don't Need Darkness To Do What You Think Is Right
(Geographic / Domino)

The first release on the Geographic sub-label (which is run by The Pastels) of Domino Records, You Don't Need Darkness To Do What You Think Is Right is a fluff-light collection of electronic pop and just plain electronic tracks that drags far more than it has the right to with all the people who are involved with it. Like a less-varied sequel to the Pastels Illuminati remix disc that came out 4 years ago, this release shares many of the same artists, but doesn't have quite the amount of highs or lows that release did.

With Future Pilot AKA, Appendix Out, and many others contributing tracks (along with Kevin Shields, who's been popping up at random points for the past couple years and is now a member of Primal Scream), there are definitely some excellent artists involved, but for the most part it's the lesser-knowns that shine the most (which, come to think of it, is often how these things go). The Pastels open the disc with some nice atmospherics on the apt-titled "Intro" before lazily rolling through a bland remake of Sly Stone's "Everybody Is A Star." International Airport turns in a nice, lo-fi electronic-infused jangle-pop track on "Cordial Arrest" while the Bill Wells Octet turns in the goofy, but fairly fun "Wiltz."

One interesting thing about the release is that almost the entire first half of the disc could fall under the explanation of "goofy, but fairly good." There's quirk pop by Maher Shalal Hash Baz and Nagisa Ni Te, while Future Pilot AKA adds a long, wacked-out track entitled "Remember Fun (When We Was Young)." Things shift up about the middle of the release, though, and after Pedro makes another welcome appearence (also found on the recent Room Full Of Tuneful compilation) with the lovely, pastoral "Amber," things get a bit more introspective.

Empress adds "Known For Years," and the vocals by Nicola Hodgkinson sound so fragile that they might just break (the quiet instrumentation only adds to the feeling), and Appendix Out adds the excellent "The Language In Things," which takes things in the complete opposite of the pop at the beginning of the release with a dusty, almost baroque folk track. National Park add the epic "No More Rides" towards the end, and it's another slow stunner to help bring things down. Oh, and for those wondering about Kevin Shields? He turns in a remix of The Pastels track "Intro" (simply titled "Outro") that adds a few digital effects, but nothing else. If you're purchasing the comp for his name alone, you'll probably be sadly mistaken. Luckily, though, there are still plenty of excellent tracks, even if the sequencing is a bit odd. Not only that, but most of them are exclusive to this release, so if you're a hardcore completist of any groups included on the release, you'll probably want to pony up.

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00