words_ mike gardell. illustration_ jamie leigh servidio.
Death From Above 1979 – ‘The Physical World’
Favorite Tracks: Cheap Talk, Crystal Ball, White is Red, Trainwreck 1979, Government Trash, Gemini, The Physical World
For Fans Of: LCD Soundsystem, Battles, Liars, Lightning Bolt, Queens of the Stone Age
After a decade long break since their debut album, Death From Above 1979 return with their second hard hitting album of noisy dance-punk tunes, ‘The Physical World’. For those who are unware of this band, Death From Above 1979 is a duo from Toronto Ontario consisting solely of a drummer (Sebastien Grainger) and a bassist (Jesse F. Keeler), with both members contributing vocal duties on their tracks. The group garnered underground success and critical acclaim for their 2004 debut album ‘You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine’, for its combination of dance, punk, and noise rock, a sound they continue to expand on for their latest record.
‘The Physical World’ starts off right away with a bang. Opening track “Cheap Talk” hooks you in with the pummeling, distorted basslines and thrashing drums that are signature to this band. What really keeps you though are the hooks and bass melodies in the chorus, this band has a knack for writing catchy choruses and leads. DFA1979 takes a slower pace on this album, while the speed and fuzz is right in your face, the intensity has been turned down slightly compared to ‘You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine’, possibly a sign of a band maturing even after a ten year hiatus. But the songs don’t fail to catch you, some of the hooks on this album are the best they have ever written. They aren’t relying on the intensity of their sound as much as they are relying on the material they have to keep you around and listen. What really catches the listener most on this album, are the vocals and bass leads. The singing has improved tremendously since their debut, with Sebastien Grainger sounding clearer than ever. Jesse F. Keeler has his most melodic playing on this album, the bass leads on “White is Red” or “Government Trash” or “The Physical World” will melt your face with amazement that a bass guitar can sound and play that hard. His playing is a testament that all this band needs are drums and bass, and they manage to sound bigger than most bands with the standard formula (drums, bass, and 2 guitars). DFA1979 return on a strong note with this album, proving the band hasn’t lost their pace after a ten year break, and if anything, are back to make a very loud statement to stay.