Review

Review

Client: Untitled Remix

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What all-girl trio dressed like Swedish airline hostesses wouldn't rock your skivvies off?...

Review by Gregory S. Burkart

In a small departure (okay, probably a really big departure) from our recent coverage of the latest metal, industrial and EBM releases, I decided to switch things up and venture forth into techno-pop, electroclash, whatever they?re calling it this week? hey, don?t look at me like that! This is not your standard disposable pop-tart fare; it?s got sharp edges that will cut you if you?re not careful. Just because this all-girl trio choose to dress themselves in the uniforms of Swedish airline hostesses doesn?t mean they can?t rock your skivvies off.

Wait a second? what all-girl trio dressed like Swedish airline hostesses wouldn?t rock your skivvies off? I?d better cut here before this review goes totally off-topic.

Already a huge hit in their native UK and an even bigger smash in clubs throughout Europe since their inception in 2003, the hard electro outfit Client first caught the attention of US listeners through the soundtracks to shows like The O.C., Nip/Tuck, The L Word, Queer As Folk and CSI, but they never managed to really catch fire stateside ? at least not until the release of last year?s Heartland, which represented a step up and beyond their minimalist electro technique and into the realm of big, bombastic, ?80s-inspired, get-on-your-feet club anthems. Their cover of Adam Ant?s ?Zerox Machine? best represents this new sound, and once you hear it, you?ll be hard-pressed to get the hook out of your head? not that you?d want to.

Currently comprised of Client A (Kate Holmes) on keyboards, Client B (Sarah Blackwood, formerly of Dubstar) on vocals, and Client E (Emily Mann) on bass guitar, the group has become equally adept at performing around the globe and DJ-ing in clubs throughout Europe (including a weekly ?Being Boiled? multimedia show at London?s Notting Hill Arts Club). Actively collaborating with a wide assortment of pop, electro, industrial and EBM artists ? among them Depeche Mode?s Martin Gore, German icons Die Krupps, and the recently reformed Nitzer Ebb ? Client have produced a wide assortment of remixes by way of singles, b-sides and EPs over the years, so it?s only natural that they would compile some of the most interesting of these into a standalone album. Comprised mainly of the most popular Heartland tracks, the new Untitled Remix, which streets in the US on April 8, assembles some stunning new takes on their latest sonic venture.

Kicking off with one of two versions of ?Suicide Sister? (with a vocal assist from Nitzer Ebb?s Doug McCarthy), this collection gets right down to business, with remix contributions from other notable electro artists like UnterART, Fuchs & Horn, and Eyerer & Namito. Reworked from its original New Wave instrumental style into more of a Human League-flavored synth-pop arrangement, ?Zerox Machine? (now just called ?Zerox?) is still as hooky as ever, though greatly simplified (the verses have been stripped out) and now purely dance-oriented? and it?s still a great track.

Other noteworthy collaborations include a trippy new version of the Die Krupps (review here) fan favorite ?Der Amboss? (on which Sarah Blackwood has previously performed live at Die Krupps? London shows) and a team-up with psychedelic space-rockers Replica for the previously unreleased track ?Sorry.? The closing cut is a highly experimental, mostly vocal-free interpretation of ?Drive? in which the synthesized bass, rhythm and lead lines are all thoroughly tweaked beyond all recognition into a hard-techno noisefest that?ll have the glow-stick crowd out on the floor in seconds.

I?m sure there will be plenty of you out there who shudder at the notion of modern British dance-pop ? what with all the damage done by the Spice Girls ? but rest assured, this is pop with a much edgier sensibility, calling to mind a menacing future metropolis populated by leggy fembots who can stun you with a sideways glance. It just goes to show that not all sinister musical styles come packaged with spikes, rivets or blood-dripping logos. If these remixes manage to seduce you into Client?s electronic web, you owe it to yourself to check out the original cuts from Heartland for a dangerously sexy experience.

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