Their name might suggest otherwise, but the UK-based band Crazy Penis seem to favor long-term relationships with record labels. The five-piece disco/house outfit stuck by Paper Recordings for seven years upon debuting there in 1997; committed two albums and three singles to Shiva Records after; and then fell into the outstretched arms of 20:20 Vision in 2008. Occasional dalliances aside, the group now known as Crazy P have basically become the house band of Ralph Lawson’s venerable UK label, earning their own catalog numbers and several remix packages. In fact, the recently released Heartbreaker single collects still more remixes for material found on 2011′s When We On album. But if any track on the LP deserved its own record it’s “Heartbreaker,” arriving paired with new takes by buzzed-about producers Huxley and Mark E.
Crazy P know how to make a break-up song sting without sending dancers searching for tissues, focusing on a groove that’s half disco supergroup, half New Order, and entirely too compelling to leave. Forlorn guitar licks try to stitch up gaping emotional wounds even as male/female call-and-response vocals fight for the last word. Keyboard lines welling up like tears add to the emotional impact and keep the admittedly familiar melodies feeling fresh, aided by air tight arrangements. If its remixes are any indication, this makes “Heartbreaker” a tough track to dissect and rearrange. At first Huxley sacrifices its emotional potency for dance-floor utility, bouncing only vocal segments back and forth on a bass-led groove with clunky organ stabs as counterpoints. This makes for an odd juxtaposition when tearful strings and guitar notes arrive during the breakdown; I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry as they finish the remix together. Mark E gets credit for at least maintaining one mood, although his plodding rhythms fail to develop beyond a collection of resampled elements snowballing over seven minutes. Perhaps 20:20 Vision should have offered Crazy P the chance to revisit their own tune rather than invite third parties to have a go.