Son Lux continues to gain stature with his records and although the last album felt a little over familiar in places where Ryan self references his earlier works – Stranger Forms is a six track EP that remixes some of his latest work into new evolved tracks. Stranger? Yes. Better? Quite possibly!
Opening with the gloomy and lethargic black mood of “Cage of Bones” it feels like a new track from its original counterpart and the throbbing bass and twisted vocal booms mashed with crisp guitar static makes for an uncomfortable horror. This song works superbly when paired with the music video too.
“You Don’t Own Me” takes the fabulous original and redistributes the instruments to bring brass to the foreground along with Hanna Benn’s backing vocals taking centre stage for most of the second half of the track. She was there in the original but kept in the background – this makes the track less creepy and more of a power stalker track. “Change Everything” see’s the typical layered approach be stripped back a little in favour for vocal gymnastics that burst into euphoric celebration and some really nifty pitch shift and echo effects. “Redone” takes my favourite track from the recent album Undone and reworks it with Olga Bell – whom I’m already a fan of. It’s a discordant and aggressive remake that goes nuts with drum loops and heavy bass bends whilst Olga is almost completely placid throughout. It’s a great track.
“We Are The Ones” continues the EP’s vein of huge vocals – this time with a choir like performance – whilst the other instruments are more stripped back but garish. It’s a lovely melody and really nicely put together although I kept thinking the choir shouting “now” was actually shouting “meow” so this song deserves to be put on misheardlyrics best of 2016 list! “Breathe” is a watery piano and synth culmination of the intro and exit tracks from the recent album and actually works really well to complete the breathe trilogy.
It’s interesting that Son Lux revisits almost all of his albums with remixes. Each time I have rarely thought “ah that’s a better version” but here I think is the first time I can say this is an essential addendum to the album. It all fits the sound vein and all the tracks are suitably different to feel fresh and new, whilst borrowing the best bits from the originals. A must buy for fans.
Recommended Track: Cage of Bones