Giardini Di Miro’s mini-album North Atlantic Treaty of Love couples four songs recently issued on 12-inch vinyl (in fact the Italian sextet’s first new material since 2003) with Punk…Not Diet remixes by Alias, Apparat, Hood, and The Sea. Similar to the material on its other releases, the new songs are distinctive mini-epics of meticulously-crafted melancholia, with the finest of the lot appearing first. Laced with a haunting grandeur, “Othello” juxtaposes chiming guitars with Jukka Reverberi’s half-whispered vocal and melancholy piano figures; what makes the piece most interesting, however, is the crisp disco pulse the band uses as the song’s driving anchor. Guest vocalist Siaz (Tom de Geeter of Zucchini Drive) adds an aggressive Alias-styled rap to the dreamy vocal choirs and interlaced guitars of “Little Cesar,” after which the group’s Smog cover “Blood Red Bird” unfurls like a dirge, with sparse tom-toms counting out funereal patterns for the tremolo guitars crying alongside them. Less enthralling is “The Perfect Trick,” a bombastic prog coda to the otherwise memorable opening trio.
The remixes are an eclectic bunch, with the first two deviating pronouncedly in rhythmic style from the originals: Alias beefs up the synth quotient and adds funk-hop pulsations to the dreamy “Given Ground” while Apparat first roots “Once Again a Fond Farewell” in a gentle bed of clicking beats before injecting shoegaze intensity into the song’s hammerhead choruses. Following that, Hood’s grand treatment of “The Swimming Season” hews closest to the original’s post-rock vibe, while strings and breath-laden exhalations imbue The Sea’s (really The Boats) “Last Act in Baires” re-creation with a lulling dreaminess. All told, Giardini devotees may regard the versions as interesting but hardly essential listening. While they’ll be encouraged by the quality of the new material (especially “Othello”), such listeners also will likely be disappointed there’s not more of it.