The Wombats- Greek Tragedy (Oliver Nelson Remix)

Two weeks ago, Oliver Nelson dropped a new remix of The Wombats’ pop-rock jam “Greek Tragedy.” This one was a bit more fun for me than our regular reviews. First, and less important, original has the word “Greek” in the title so I’m ethically and morally bound to reviewing it. Second, I went through a seriously angsty pop-rock phase from 12-16 yrs. old and this song taps into the nether-regions of my soul and hearkens me back to the days of Papa Roach, Nine Inch Nails, and other bands who make me cringe oh so slightly when I remember them. To be fair, The Wombats are not so fully entrenched in rock culture, they obviously draw considerably from electronic concepts, especially with regard to incorporating toned rhythmic elements at the upbeats between their “heavier” rock chords. On the other hand, they do dedicate a good 20 seconds in the middle to a simple vocal and 2-4 drum beat: the mark of the late 90’s rock band. So let’s just call this a nice marriage of old and new and leave it at that. Besides, Oliver Nelson’s remix is the real reason why we’re all here. Right off the bat, we have a delicious muted piano and what I like to call “record-crackle” which is a staple of any Nu Disco intro (think Snakehips at the beginning of On & On). That piano is the star of the track. This remix is a bit different from what we’ve become used to because it basically complete rewrites the original. There’s very little from the original in this remix. Here’s a fundamental difference: the rhythm of the melodic elements of the original (primarily the rhythm guitar) hit on the 3& and 4& of each measure, providing a “back-swung” rhythm. This is then coupled with a lot of 1-2-3-4 rhythms that are pretty standard. This is mean to contrast the swung rhythm in the verse. The main melodic element of the original, however, the muted piano, uses a 1-3 rhythm, meaning most of the chords in a measure hit on the 1 and 3 of each measure, front loading the beat. The is a common Nu Disco technique and it gives the beat a bit more funk cause the beat comes a bit earlier than you expect. AND OH BY THE WAY, THERE’S AN AMAZING SAXOPHONE IN THE LAST MINUTE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO IT. Regardless, I am a fan of both tracks and you should listen to them both below along with a comment about your thoughts!

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