I have to say, I am wary when I hear about bands revisiting older material with plans on changing it up and re-releasing them. One of my favorite Arcade Fire songs was ruined that way. However, I can’t begrudge musicians from indulging in the practice; they probably live on taking their own songs and changing them up slightly to sound new and interesting. Otherwise, how mind-numbingly boring would it be to play the same songs exactly the same way all the time?
In this EP release, The Forms, with help from producer Scott Solter, take six previously released songs and not only change the speed, but change words and showcase new elements, most noticeably strings and guest vocals. The guest vocals come from collaborations with Matt Berninger from The National, Andrew Thiboldeaux from Pattern is Movement, and Craig Wedren from Shudder to Think. Nat Baldwin of Dirty Projector and Daniel Hart of St. Vincent lend support with the new string arrangement. I’m a huge sucker for strings so any addition of them is a good thing in my book.
I love this idea of collaborating with other musicians and letting them put a new spin on your material. That instead of sealing your creation up in a vault no one can touch, you are releasing it for others to work their hands over. Most of the new versions see a sped up approach, like the new take of ‘Knowledge in Hand’, here titled ‘Same Path Mantra’, which reminds me of how Pinback significantly speeds up their songs when playing them live. One setback with this is a slightly letdown feeling that the songs end too soon. Overall, I like the re-workings of these previously released songs. It illustrates how versatile musicians can be with their work.
Stand out track for me would have to be Matt Berninger’s take on ‘Red Gun’, here titled ‘Fire to the Ground’. His mellifluous croon coupled with the upbeat string arrangement gives a warmer, fuller tone to a favorite of mine.
Derealization Track List:
01. Fire to the Ground (feat. Matt Berninger)
02. Same Path Mantra
03. Steady Hand (feat. Andrew Thiboldeaux)
04. Alpha Wave
05. Finally (feat. Craig Wedren)