2013 has been a big year for Letherette. Following the release of its eponymous first full-length and the album's first single, the woozy "D&T," the duo has now released its next 12", After Dawn, which features remixes by Bibio and Barker & Baumecker, as well as a Jimmy Edgar remix of "Restless," another track from Letherette.
By Letherette standards, "After Dawn" is a subtle production; whereas the duo's usual club fare is often influenced by French filter house, "After Dawn"'s slow, steady rhythms, swirling synths, and unobtrusive bass seem to draw inspiration from nu-disco. That's not to say that "After Dawn" lacks club appeal or is a bad track; it's well produced, enjoyable, and catchy. It does, however, somewhat suffer from an air of restraint, which is strange for an outfit like Letherette, whose best, most engaging efforts come from trying for bombastic or, alternatively, experimental sounds.
That said, the remixes here compensate where the original falls flat. Barker & Baumecker provide a particularly interesting take on "After Dawn"; what begins as a punchy house rhythm morphs into a bounding, energetic affair as it's injected with the duo's techno leanings. The melody is immersed in a thick coat of wonk, and the originally understated bass morphs into a deep, rumbling growl. Bibio's rework stands out just as much; the Warp artist strips "After Dawn" of its disco underpinnings, then distills the beat down to a slow, sensual crawl. Syrupy G-funk synths, syncopated bass, and even the occasional guitar flourish are added into the mix, making this version of the track a more intimate affair.
With its chunky 4/4 rhythm, warped synth stabs, and airy female vocals, "Restless," the record's b-side, flirts with a house aesthetic. While it isn't really groundbreaking, it's engaging and fun, and Jimmy Edgar does a good job of giving the track his own personal touch without losing those vibes or straying far from the dancefloor. He takes a flashy, streetwise approach—especially in regards to percussion—by adding bits of Southern hip-hop skitters to the original's upbeat house rhythm. The melody and vocals of "Restless" are similarly chopped up and reconstituted, with the synths being stretched, compressed, and warped even further through disjointed yet catchy melodies.
After Dawn may not be the best thing in Letherette's discography, but that's not a bad thing. Taken as a whole, it's not as though either track strives to be anything more than fun or catchy, and both "After Dawn" and "Restless" succeed on those fronts. Even if that wasn't the case, the ensemble cast of remixers does a good job of picking up the slack and keeping things fresh.