- There has been an obvious indie shift in recent years for the Bugged Out! series, coinciding neatly with the democratization authorized by digital DJing. The likes of Hot Chip and Klaxons have both proven to be potent curators, with surprisingly compelling mixes, the former known for the witty eclecticism of their selection, the latter for its brutal relentlessness. After only one studio album in 2008 and moderate attention from the dance music community (a much-loved Aeroplane remix here, a tribal-lite Luke Solomon remix there), Friendly Fires might seem like the poor man's bearers of the indie-dance torch, especially considering the fact they appeared on the scene right at the end of the whole nu-rave debacle. But as their Suck My Deck mix CD suggests, the British trio are sufficiently au fait with past and current dance music trends to fully earn their spot in the series and on your deck as well.
Their selection might start with The Egyptian Lover's well-known electro-funk jam "Freak-A-Holic," but this isn't a cheap concession to the everlasting revitalization/recuperation of mid-'80s synth pop trends you'd expect, as it's rapidly mixed with Bot'ox's recent "Bearded Lady Motorcycle Show," a muddy yet pounding blend of stoner rock instrumentation and krautrock-like dynamics. As such, other oldies such as George Kranz's 1983 break-ish oddity "Din Daa Daa" and Jody "Fingers" Finch's acidic "Jack Your Big Booty" come off like welcome surprises. The trio's credibility is further boosted by "Stay Here," an exclusive track from the group recorded in collaboration with Canadian revivalists Azari & III that takes Friendly Fires' own exhilarating glee (think of their 2009 "Kiss of Life" single as a departure point) and sets it to a pumping and jacking beat. That it blends so easily with the raw techno of Redshape's "Dog Day" only makes it more convincing.
Munk's piano-heavy take on The Phenomenal Handclap Band's "You'll Disappear" early in the mix and the Aeroplane remix of Lindstrøm's "Baby Can't Stop" soon after threatens to take the thing into song-based, neo-disco territories, but the group never settle into the mood for long. The cuts rub shoulders, for instance, with a Discodeine remix of Arnaud Rebotini's "777" that is as heady as it is twirling in its repetitiveness. Even populist cuts come across as fitting inclusions, like the ubiquitous "Coma Cat" by Tensnake (slightly pitched up to fit its surroundings) or 2 Bears' bouncy "Be Strong" (a more commercial house track courtesy of Hot Chip's Joe Goddard and Raf Rundell that is actually quite easy to, err, bear). As the mix fades out to Round Two's coquettish "New Day," it becomes clear that Friendly Fires have a thing or two to teach their indie dance fanbase. Indeed, it's so good that even house and techno purists might learn something along the way.
01. The Egyptian Lover - Freak-A-Holic
02. Bot'Ox - Bearded Lady Motorcycle Show
03. The Phenomenal Handclap Band - You'll Disappear (Munk Remix)
04. Tom Trago - Lost In The Streets of NYC (Boris Werner Lost In Malta Remix)
05. Ryan Crosson - Metro Bunker (Original Mix)
06. Lindstrom & Christabelle -Baby Can't Stop (Aeroplane Remix)
07. Rebotini - 777 (Discodeine Remix)
08. Tensnake - Coma Cat
09. Munk - La Musica (Azari & III Remix)
10. Friendly Fires and Azari & III - Stay Here
11. Redshape - Dog Day
12. The 2 Bears - Be Strong
13. Butch - No Worries
14. George Kranz - Din Daa Daa
15. Jody 'Fingers' Finch - Jack Your Big Booty (BHQ No Acid Vocal)
16. BDI - City & Industry
17. Alan Fitzpatrick - Green Light
18. Boo Williams - Mortal Trance
19. Round Two - New Day (Club Vocal Mix)