Album Reviews

Various – Modular DJs Present… Leave Them All Behind

(V2) UK release date: 10 October 2005

When it comes to musical genres indie and dance have long been the Israel and Palestine of the music world. The two divide opinions more than a lorry-load of Marmite, so bringing them together shouldn’t work.

Dance appears to be losing its sheen and seems to be kept alive by allying itself with strange bedfellows. The recent resurgence of New York post-punk has opened the gates for a raw sound merging indie sensibilities with electro beats. These new beats go by a legion of names: Artrock, Brit Grot and almost every other journalistic invention employed to describe the movement. This double disc package seeks to provide a snapshot of ‘electic indie/dance crossover’ for the discerning listener.

The discs are crammed with fresh talent, blending the obscure with new indie household names like Bloc Party and The Killers. There are some great tracks from Death from Above 1979, Rubicks and Panico. One of the most overlooked songs of the year – Tom Vek‘s brilliant I Ain’t Saying Goodbye puts in a welcome appearance and contributions are also provided by Fiery Furnaces and Sons and Daughters

Disc one is a mix courtesy of the Modular DJs and provides a good introduction to several of the bands currently surfing the musical zeitgeist. 18 tracks are crammed into under an hour- a mixture of original songs and remixes from the likes of Mylo and Phones. Everything keeps flowing and the package doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. Rather than most DJ mixes this hits the ground running and doesn’t spend ages building itself up. In short, it ticks all the boxes.

The second disc provides unmixed highlights from disc one as well as some random extra tracks that didn’t make the mix. There’s something ramshackle about disc two and it’s absence of logical order suffers a little in comparison to disc one. It’s good to hear some of the tracks properly but I’d have preferred a second mix disc, especially when the first was up to such a high standard.

Despite some of the bands chosen to appear this doesn’t feel like a compilation that’s trying to be trendy. Priority is thankfully given to the music over media hype.

I admit I approached this with some cynicism, but I warmed to it straight away. It’s an intriguing mix which surprisingly flows together seamlessly with little or no filler. Vibrant, exciting and above all a good listen, I can’t quite put my finger on why this works, but it does.

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