To recap: Whoever had the idea to put together a string quartet of women who look like supermodels/dance-pop tarts/actresses and have them play over programmed beats is some kind of a commercial genius…and boy are they running it for all it’s worth. Some of the cuts on Bond’s previous album, Shine, are must-hears, including the title number and a fun cover of the legendary Monty Norman (cough, John Barry, cough) 007 theme. Both are included here in supposedly new mixes, but Hectic’s “Bond on Bond” is more noticeably different from its album version than the Dubsharka mix of “Shine.” Still, I prefer the original.
Dictionary.com defines a violin as: “A stringed instrument played with a bow, having four strings tuned at intervals of a fifth, an unfretted fingerboard, and a shallower body than the viol and capable of great flexibility in range, tone and dynamics.”
But enough music and tech for a minute, let’s talk tits. I hope that seemingly abrupt and tactless shift of subject didn’t offend anybody, but I think when a quartet is sold as much on their look as this one is, I’m allowed to devote a handful of lines to that fact. This CD comes with a fold-out poster version of the album’s cover with liner notes and Maxim-ready photos of each girl on the other side. My favorite this time around? Second violinist Eos Chater. Suffice it to say Ms. Chater shows us her unfretted fingerboard and shallow body.
And yes, before you write in to ask, I am deeply ashamed of what I have just written. So sue me. The wind chill in Seattle as I write this is 19 °F, the temperature is 27 °F, and the thought of running my fingers over those tuned, flexible, toned and dynamic bodies… But, to get back to the music — and for the moment there ain’t no place else to go–the first track on this album, “Viva,” was originally a bonus track on the UK edition of Bond’s first album, Born. It opens with a lot of flash but doesn’t develop into much substance. I don’t expect diamonds from Bond, but this is hardly even zircon. Fortunately, not all the remixes leave the originals the worse for wear. “Speed” and especially “Fuego” are much improved by their Crash Club and Caliente mixes, respectively. Also previously unavailable in the US, “Homecoming” is my favorite of the new (to me) tracks here.
Only half as much fun and twice as predictable, this is not the must-have that Shine was — and even that was so only in a very kitschy way. But Bond is near-perfect in its capitalism. By which I mean that an all-girl string quartet with bass, guitar, percussion and orchestra over programmed beats is still a great idea. It just may not be a great idea one needs to hear more than once or twice; the thrill is waning. Maybe the idea of quality junk like this wasn’t meant to support more than one or two albums. On the other hand, it’s not really fair to judge a remix collection by the same standard as a full album; we must take it on its own merits.
The biggest problem with this album may be concept overload. The balance between Bond’s beautiful playing and the synthesized techno noise — also beautiful in its own way — is crucial to the quality of their sound. So when the latter is overdone, as it is half the time here, it’s frustrating. At least as much for the girls themselves, one might imagine, since it relegates them to the position of essentially being studio musicians on their own album.