‘Physical’ Joy From Death
In 2004, Death from Above 1979 released their debut album, “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine.”
Using only bass, drums and vocals, the band was able to innovate a unique punk rock sound—with a little pop thrown in for good measure.
Rumored to have met on a pirate ship or in prison, the duo consists of Jessie F. Keeler on bass and Sebastien Grainger on drums and vocals.
Only having a bass and drums has allowed the instruments to be utilized in unique ways. Both albums have strong rhythm—thanks to the drums—at their core. The bass, acts as a fuller-bodied guitar that employs distortion and complex riffs.
Shortly after the success of “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine”, Death from Above 1979 broke up, leaving their debut album to become an underground cult classic.
Now, nearly 10 years later, the duo has finally released their second album, “The Physical World.”
“The Physical World” has a lot to offer musically, and is similar enough to their established sound to please longtime fans. However, the new release has a cleaner and more diverse sound, which will appeal to a wider audience.
The sound of the band has matured in the past ten years, producing an album that is not simply underground pop-punk, but also one that transcends genre.
The two most interesting tracks on the album are “White is Red” and “Right On, Frankenstein!”
“White is Red” is a heart-wrenching ballad centered around a pregnant teenager. Overall, the song is reminiscent in both tone and lyrics to My Chemical Romance’s “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge,” but the song stays distinctly original.
“Right On, Frankenstein!” is by far the most compelling track from a musical standpoint. It is rooted in hard rock, and just as catchy as the lead single “Trainwreck 1979”—which is equal parts headbanger and dance anthem—and at times “Right On, Frankenstein!” is a march; somehow it all works.
The song “Government Trash,” however, is a nod to the style of their first album. Two other songs, “Virgins” and “Gemini” employ the bands intense song structure and Keeler’s bass riffs.
Overall, the album flows together smoothly. The only flaw is that the album is only thirty-six minutes long. It would have been nice to either have some longer songs or more songs in general.
“The Physical World” may not have something to offer everyone, but it does have a lot to offer to anyone who enjoys particular rock subgenres. Hopefully, the world will not have to wait another ten years for the next taste of Death from Above 1979.