- Crash Course In Science is a band whose history you have to piece together. The post-punk trio formed in the late '70s, with an unlikely approach. They replaced traditional instrumentation with toys and household appliances, making post-punk with a bright, sometimes humourous character. (The band's 1979 debut, Cakes In The Home, is almost cutesy in its own way.) As the years wore on, the Philadelphia band started dabbling in homemade synths, resulting in a spikier, new wave-influenced sound. That music debuted on Signals From Pier Thirteen (reissued by Dark Entries last year) and peaked on Near Marineland, the full-length they recorded in 1981 but never released until Vinyl-On-Demand pressed it as part of a comprehensive 2009 box set. Dark Entries has now scooped up "Jump Over Barrels," Marineland’s best track, for a 12-inch that pairs it with a brilliant remix from Charles Manier.
By the time of Near Marineland, Crash Course In Science had turned darker and more rhythmic. It's a style better suited for the dance floor, where "Jump Over Barrels" has found a second life. Its jittery energy is infectious, sounding as though whoever programmed the sequencer had drunk too much coffee. From the harsh skronks to the nasal vocals, it's volatile and a little angry, though not without a sense of humour—why is vocalist Michael Zodorozny so disgruntled about about having to "go out with Carol"?
The original is supplemented by a demo version and a rehearsal recording, neither of which are all that revealing. The real attraction is the remix from Charles Manier, an alias of Tadd Mullinix. So far he's used the project for paranoid electro, and that's exactly what his craggy and broken version delivers. The jagged ends are more jagged, the vocals are smothered and any lightheartedness is totally blotted out. It's a different mood than the original, but it's no less deadly—emblematic of Dark Entries' exceptional curation.
01. Jump Over Barrels
02. Jump Over Barrels (1981 Demo)
03. Jump Over Barrels (Charles Manier Remix)
04. Jump Over Barrels (Early Rehearsal Version)