Thursday, 15 June 2017

EP REVIEW: Rabbit Junk - Like the Flesh Does the Knife

I can’t open this review without first making it perfectly clear: Rabbit Junk are, by far, one of my all time favourite bands. Rising from the ashes of digital hardcore greats The Shizit, JP Anderson has constantly used the hardclash moniker Rabbit Junk as a vessel to experiment and evolve his approach to music over the past 13 years now, from the undefinable Re:Frame to the ambitious This Life Is Where You Get F__ked and Project Nonagon, it can be said that no two songs by the husband-and-wife duo are (or can ever be) the same. While JP takes time out to work on their 5th album and explore other projects, he and Glitch Mode Recordings have now unleashed Like the Flesh Does the Knife, an EP of remixes by JP and members of the Glitch Mode collective.

A quick warning before we start: for those hoping to hear any remixes of classic RJ tracks, prepare to be disappointed. The oldest remixed track here is “Bubble” from the band’s self described ‘Lost Years’ of 2011-2013. But fans of the newer output won’t be disappointed with what’s on offer. Perhaps in keeping with the project’s evolution into a more electronically focussed sound, the opening 3rd Degree Mix of “Precipice” completely strips out the song, removing the guitars and placing emphasis on heavy, pounding electronic beats with shredded vocals rearranged across the board. This total re-imagining of the Pop That Pretty Thirty track is nothing less than what you can expect from a Rabbit Junk remix: using old material to create something completely different and refreshing, but at the same time instantly recognisable and danceable to, which they also achieve to great effect with the surprisingly relaxing #parentlife Mix of “Beast”. The Drenchrom Blade Mix of “IDONTGIVEAFUCK” is almost completely unrecognisable, though, completely altering not only the music, but the vocals as well. Angry robot noises are the name of Glitch Mode Recordings’ game, and this remix plays it perfectly with its glitched out vocals and robotic voices injected throughout to create something entirely new.

There are two remixes of Beast’s track “Locked” on offer here, offering different interpretations: a Hard Narco Mix by JP Anderson himself as well as the Glitch Mode Breaks Mix by Sean Payne (Cyanotic, head of Glitch Mode Recordings). The Hard Narco Mix slows things down a tad by stripping back the music and focussing more on haunting electronic beats, turning the track into something altogether more eery. By stark contrast, the Glitch Mode Breaks Mix offers machine fed industrial chaos and brutality to the track, displaying a completely different interpretation of the same track heard earlier on Like the Flesh Does the Knife.

Kudos must go to the guest artists here as well, who do a great job of re-imagining Rabbit Junk’s songs in their own style. Amnestic’s take on “Bubble” wouldn’t feel too out of place on any of their own material, with huge synths that fill your ears and flood the dancefloor. Sean Payne’s remix of “Locked” has already been touched on, while STRNGR’s unusual synthwave inspired approach to industrial is perfectly suited to the gothic leanings of Invasion track “Broken Highways”, now given a Wasteland Heartbeat Mix.

All in all, Like the Flesh Does the Knife is a highly successful EP, achieving its aims of taking 6 Rabbit Junk tracks, hollowing them out, and refilling them to become whole new beasts in their own right. As someone who generally thinks little of remix albums, this has greatly impressed me and may have changed my perception of remix albums in general. Kudos to you, Rabbit Junk and co.

Don't forget to follow Rabbit Junk on Facebook as they record their new album. Stream and download Like the Flesh Does the Knife below.