Music Complete is such a fascinating album. In my opinion it is by far the most diverse album since Brotherhood; covering killer dance tracks, quality rock numbers, slow ones, fast ones, and leftfield numbers like Stray Dog which for me hark back to the likes of Angel Dust, Murder and Mesh.
And unlike the vocal collaborations on Get Ready and Waiting For The Sirens’ Call which were more miss than hit, just how good is it that the band was able to dial-in one of their all time biggest influences from back in the Warsaw / Joy Division days; namely Iggy.
Iggy Pop FFS!
Not everyone calls it out as one of the highlights on the album, but I really like Stray Dog; starting with Iggy’s signature growl, which sounds like he’s gargling on coffee-granules while soaking in cheap tequila… in a dust storm… with rattlesnakes. Perfect really for telling Bernard’s poetic tale of unconditional love and secrets to happiness, and perfect for naming a beer*. And I freely admit to having to Google “Grimpen Mire” 🙂
Musically Stray Dog is terrific, building up from it’s moody nightscape intro through unusually-effected bass guitar and percussion, distant electronic tones and riffs, descending guitars, and a lovely synth bass sequence. It’s beautifully produced, and rich with texture and melody. Using Iggy via a spoken-word performance works a treat, and far more interesting than if they’d just used him for a traditional vocal. The lover vs. supplier lines lead into a thumpingly good instrumental break, with Phil and Bernard in full flight on storming guitars, backed with Morris’s excellent (as always) drumming. The final 1:30 – heralded by Iggy’s growling and hissing – holds some lovely synths and strings, and some repeated motifs and tones from the main track. Again… a wonderful production.
The Extended Mix from Complete Music holds true to the original in tone, atmosphere and instrumentation, but as with everything on CM the band re-shuffles the layers and levels to come at the track from a different direction. The industrial loop which comes in right at the start of the mix and provides a tonal backbone to whole version works well. The overall mix seems more spacious, and you get some isolation of key parts, e.g. Chapman’s sliding bass riff and Stephen’s percussion & programming (the electronic-nature of which is dialled right up), but I think the story-telling quality of the track is lost a little in the alternative program of the Extended Mix. For that I much prefer the original.
Strong and unusual, and an essential part of Music Complete‘s wonder.
* Is it any good? Did anyone drink it or have you all just hoarded it for future profit on Ebay? Feedback welcome below.