B-sides and remix collections can be a mixed bag. On the one hand you get records that stand on their own as a completed piece of collected music (Killers’ Sawdust comes to mind) while with others it seems like your favorite band is half assing it to fulfill some contract or bide time in between records.
Luckily, Constants falls in the former category as one listen through Devotion easily proves that the Boston-based Post-Rock outfit is all about doing things whole assed. And we couldn’t be more happy about that and the fact that the quartet is back. Solidifying that notion is an opening in the form of brand spankin’ new track “ENDS”! Excited yet? You should be.
It’s been eight long years since Pasiflora but “ENDS” makes it sound like they just put out a new record yesterday. Building off the dreaminess that made their last record sound as otherworldly as it did with the hefty crunch of what made earlier records like If Tomorrow The War pop, “ENDS” is a welcome return and hopefully a sign of what’s to come.
The rest of Devotion flows right out of that renewed energy as the band introduce fans to new guitarist Joel Reynolds (Junius, SOM) and take on classics by Catherine Wheel, Hum, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Type O Negative while updating some of their older material with previously released remixes which are all conveniently collected here and newly remastered.
As a lifelong Type O Negative fan, it’s hard to think that anyone can capture the unique vibe of the late Pete Steele but Constants do the iconic frontman and the band justice, taking a song as rich and lush as “Love You To Death” and putting it through their own unique filter to make it something equally unique with vocalist Will Benoit offering a dreamy counterpoint to Steele’s uncanny baritone.
Then there’s “One” and “If You Are To Bloom” originally by Sunny Day Real Estate and Hum respectively which sound as if they were originals with the way they are woven into the sonic fabric of the Constants sound. Justin K. Broadrick (He of Godflesh fame and the producer of If Tomorrow The War) transforms The Foundation, The Machine, The Ascension‘s “Those Who Came Before” into a sprawling Industrial behemoth, throbbing with bass and driven by Rob Motes’ steady percussive bludgeoning.
“In Dreams” from 2010’s If Tomorrow The War gets a subdued remix courtesy of Todd Andrews which tones down the fierce guitars and ups the bleeps and boops to place this new version more solidly where Constants were going when their last record was released. Elsewhere, Living Phantoms take a stab at “Your Daughter’s Eyes”, turning the behemoth opener from ITTW into a vibrant Electro masterpiece and then do the same to “A Quiet Edifice” by expanding the four minute banger into an almost eight minute densely constructed Trip-Hop anthem.