Label: Universal Music Canada
It’s safe to say that I am a massive fan of Death From Above 1979, so when the album dropped in my inbox I was chomping at the bits for a slice of that frantic, fun, and energetic sound they harness.
Setting their stall out early with traditional feedback and distortion, the thing that took me by surprise was when the electronic drums entered the scene. When a band has built its foundation on rock music with slamming drums, I usually let out an uncomfortable groan when they make the switch to electric. I just rarely see the purpose in it and it usually deadens the music in my view. Death From Above, however, well they somehow just make it work. Opener ‘Modern Man’ almost sounds like a Daft Punk demo with Sebastien Grainger’s newfound drum sound and Jesse F Keeler tapping away at the bass fretboard.
The Queens Of The Stone Age sound of DFA’s last album ‘Outrage Now!’ is on show as well. Tracks such as ‘Totally Wiped Out’ and the incredible ‘New York Power Elite Part 1’ have that swagger about them that Mr. Homme is quite famous for. ‘Glass Homes’ takes a full electronic break from the bass onslaught and offers something altogether different from Death From Above. All synth breaks and keyboards, this one was made for the dance floor.
‘Is 4 Lovers’ marks a change in sound for Death From Above 1979 and it is a change made with confidence. The energy rarely lets up on the album. In fact, it only starts to dip towards the end of the album where it seems almost like DFA are easing you back down to earth. The gentle swing of ‘Love Letter’ gives way to ‘Mean Streets’ which lulls you in with its piano and muted drums before unleashing a sonic barrage in the chorus. Almost like one last salvo before they go quietly into the night.
For me, the expectation of this album was fairly high given Death From Above’s track record but ‘Is 4 Lovers’ more than lives up to the hype. Daring to change to a more electric sound just breathes more life into a band that was already energetic enough. If this is the direction Death From Above 1979 is taking then I already can’t wait for the follow-up.