Experimental | Hard Rock | Electronic
It’s coming up to roughly a year ago that I discovered the experimental rock collective that is HEALTH, despite the group releasing music since 2007 (so yes, another case of me being late to the party).
But I digress, the track that I ended up discovering from HEALTH was the late 2019 single “DELICIOUS APE”, which initially appealed to me with the feature of Xiu Xiu, an artist whose 2019 album, Girl with Basket of Fruit, was amongst the most memorable records of said year. But as I ventured into the track, I admired how the track represented Xiu Xiu well, whilst also standing as a fairly unique track in comparison to Xiu Xiu’s already very unique discography. From then on, my hopes for HEALTH’s following releases representing a similarly surreal energy were set.
Fast-forward to here and now, and I discovered through Metacritic’s new album releases list, that a new album from HEALTH was coming. And having recalled the enjoyability of “DELICIOUS APE”, I decided that DISCO4 :: PART 1, was one for me to review.
Having looked into the discography of HEALTH recently, I discovered that DISCO4 :: PART 1 actually serves as the newest step in the series of remix albums that the band have made. For each album they created, they later released a remix album for it. For example, 2017’s DISCO3 was the remix album for their 2015 album DEATH MAGIC.
But despite my assumption that DISCO4 :: PART 1 would inevitably be the remix album for the band’s 2019 album VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR, this album is actually nothing of the sort. In fact, this album is a oddly unique case, in which it is “its own remix album”, which is just a fancy way of saying that it isn’t a remix album in my opinion. As well as this, the “PART 1” gimmick that is tacked on to this remix album suggest that we will most likely get a DISCO4 :: PART 2 as opposed to simply a DISCO5. But needless to say, I have picked possibly the weirdest project to introduce me properly to HEALTH.
Nevertheless, the list of features looked very exciting. As well as the fact that Xiu Xiu remain on this album with the aforementioned “DELICIOUS APE”, DISCO4 :: PART 1 also features the likes of JPEGMAFIA, Ghostemane, 100 Gecs, and many more. As a result, HEALTH almost paint themselves as a less accessible Gorillaz in a sense, and I was hoping to get that vibe with the album.
But one thing that definitely separates the likes of Gorillaz with HEALTH, in the case of this album, is consistency, which this album unfortunately has extremely little of. With the exception of the first two tracks, which did a decent job of representing HEALTH themselves, none of the other tracks meld well together on this one project at all, to the point where I feel like I’m listening to a shuffled playlist as opposed to a single project.
While I appreciate the sentiment behind representing more experimental artists, Each song either has too much HEALTH, not enough of them, or does something close to an attempt to bring the styles of main artist and featured artist together, but feels extremely clumpy.
A good example of how an artist was over-represented on this project would be the track “HATE YOU” feat. JPEGMAFIA, which was actually a track I had really high hopes for; It simply felt like a regular JPEGMAFIA single, as opposed t something that should’ve felt more like a collaboration.
And then there are tracks like “FULL OF HEALTH”, which, while getting off to a very enjoyable start, felt like a completely different kind of track when HEALTH takes the reigns from the track’s feature, Full Of Hell. Thus, this track is the most glaring example of the clumpy sense of putting two styles together, without properly blending them together.
But negative criticism aside, I would definitely be lying if I said there weren’t at least a few enjoyable moments to take away from this project. And of course, DISCO4 :: PART 1 is definitely a weird way to introduce me to HEALTH.
Despite my overall sense of disappointment in this album, I definitely don’t feel that it will stop me from the idea of exploring more of the band’s discography, or looking out for what they have planned next.
Favourite Tracks: CYBERPUNK 2020 | BODY/PRISON | DELICIOUS APE
Least Favourite Tracks: D.F. LOOKS
Loma Vista Recordings | Concord