Words by Sean Walsh
Death From Above 1979 are finally back after an eight-year hiatus with their new album The Physical World, which is prepared to drop on September 9th. The Canadian duo’s newest release is freshly-jam-packed with gritty-rock ‘n’ roll riffs that are more reminiscent of yesteryear than anything that is currently out there today. It’s like if the Black Keys, Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys and Refused got together, got super drunk off some blueberry apple moonshine and decided to play a show together—but instead of sounding like a sloppy-sweaty heaping pile of noise, all of the best elements have coalesced to form this amazingly frenzied-impulsive, yet well-oiled, distorted mega machine. It’s incredibly accessible and one of the best rock albums I have heard in some time.
Maybe it’s because I’m fed up with the current state of the musical landscape and with what we’ve decided, as a collective public, is important. Case in point: Lorde just won an award for “best rock video” over Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys. Excuse me? It seems that our lovely society has forgotten what rock music actually is, and it’s entirely too fucking frustrating to begin discussing on this page.
Even funnier, Death From Above 1979’s electronic press kit labels their live performances as the “ultimate punk rock dance party experience.” Coincidentally, after listening to this album, I could see how that could be true. But why does everything have to include the word “dance?” Obvious marketing ploys outside, this album will make you dance, freak out, bounce around, jump into people, and frantically swing your extremities in the first direction they decide to go, which makes this album incredibly fun, sincere, and raw.
They have been quoted saying that they were focusing on making the “aspects of our band that were poppy [more] poppier, and taking aspects that are heavy and making them heavier,” and I couldn’t agree more. Yet it’s tastefully done. Songs like “Cheap Talk,” “Government Trash,” and “Virgins” display the pummeling, driving, menacing, and destructive nature of the heavier portions of this album. Tracks like “The Physical World” and “White is Red” showcase beautifully crafted harmonies, balancing the incredibly catchy with the abrasive side of DFA1979.
It’s amazing that they haven’t made music together in eight years, because this album is a well-oiled machine. Maybe that’s what time does to professionals—realizing they had too much on their plate they decided to call it a day. In the meantime, Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler have both worked on various projects including JFK, St. Mandrew, Bad Tits, and most notably, Keeler’s electronic escapades alongside Alex Puodziukas as MSTRKRFT. It’s an ever-evolving world and artists are constantly upping the ante to figure out how to maintain the size of their wallets and their status in the hearts of the general public.
Luckily for Grainger and Keeler, DFA1979 never sounds tired, old, or boring by any means. In fact, the duo is able to demonstrate persistence, power, and dedication in a way that most four and five member bands may never be able to accurately harness. This is a shoe-in for rock album of the year, and will be on the “top ten” lists of everyone and anyone who matters. Drink a few brews and put on your dancing shoes, because you will not stop moving once these tunes start playing. This sophomore release is a head-bobbing, foot-stomping, body-flailing, party-inducing work of modern day rock that is sure to awaken the spirits who have been unjustly quieted and shunned by the electronic dance music gods for too long. Powerful, aggressive, commanding, and harmoniously loud, the sounds of DFA1979 shall not and cannot be ignored!
‘The Physical World’
Warner Brothers Records
© September 9th, 2014
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