Tegan And Sara – Alligator

May 17, 2010
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Alligator contains a whopping 17 remixes of Canadian songsmiths Tegan And Sara's single "Alligator" by an army of droppable names in the fields of indie rock, electronica and the grey area between the two. With so many artists operating within similar parameters, the extensively extended single harbors a healthy sense of competition. Passion Pit win the award for best retro mix, infusing the song with vintage synths and reverbed-out drums straight out of Madonna's "Holiday." A different attempt to turn "Alligator" into I Love The '80sfodder by VHS Or Beta falls flat. Some chose a more straightforward approach, but Holy Fuck's take is the only in this category which transcends dance-floor clichés; unrelenting kick drums make mixes by Kevin St. Croix, Morgan Page, and Josh Harris nearly indistinguishable.

The most successful of the project is Four Tet's remix, which is not surprising given the tasteful proficiency of mastermind Kieran Hebden in the realm of sound manipulation. Rather than drop beats under a pre-existing structure, Hebden uses the single as a jumping-off point for an exploration of minimalist bells and sparkles of percussion; his version would find a home on the recent Four Tet full-length There Is Love In You if not for the reoccurring motif of the Quin sisters' unmistakable voices.

Throughout the multiple interpretations of Alligator, its title track reveals itself as a just-okay track. The "over you, over you" hook deteriorates over time, and as one remix plays out, the process of listening to another feels like work. Since the original recording of "Alligator" is absent, the record presents a series of 17 variables without a control for comparison. Given the odd format of the release, Tegan And Sara can hardly expect listeners to sit through the entire release in one setting; in this way, the duo dodge their potential indulgence. Yet the assumption that their audience will either be familiar with the single or seek it out by themselves is where Alligator's presumption lies.


Written by Ryan Wasoba