To those that call this album stoner rock, metal, noise rock, a twisted take on dancepunk, or each of the above ' you're all wrong. And I wish I could tell you why in a way that wasn't already said better by someone else; as Jim Carrey put it in the critically underrated Cable Guy, 'Don't dig too deep, or you might get burnt ' by the molten laaavaaaa!' And that, my friends, is what this is. Death From Above 1979's new release is a blistering whirlpool of seething lava, churning at the bottom of a volcano that, from beginning to end, erupts all over you. And if that sounded a bit dodgy, then I've captured the exact same sexual undertone that is ripe throughout the aptly titled You're A Woman, I'm A Machine.
The quote I gave just wouldn't be what it is without those extra A's. Let's face it, you can just see Carrey's tongue poised against the top of his teeth, quickly slipping off in a grinning and energy-bound 'laaavaaaa!' Without that same manic, intense, ready-to-rock-out-with-my-cock-out attitude, Death From Above would be a gimmicky two-instrument sludge metal act with very little appeal indeed. But fortunately for us, that's not the case. Vocalist/drummer Sebastien Grainger tears into every lyric with an unabashed vivacity, molding seemingly innocent lyrics like 'You play with shapes but they just won't fit' into something distinctly dirty. Meanwhile, Jesse Keeler's bass thumps, churns and grates its way into your ear canals, and emerges from out the other side of your head in a satisfied and bloody mess.
Instant highlight 'Romantic Rights' scrapes into action, as Keeler's grimy bass begins formalities on its own, scratching out a delectable hook before it introduces Grainger's rapid-fire drumming, who offers a vocal introduction of his own designs: 'Your romantic rights are all that you got.' Like the rest of the album, this song never lets up in intensity.
'Blood On Our Hands' opens on already pent-up vocals, the bass and drums colliding with energized shouts until finding a groove of their own. After Grainger belts out the macho-primal 'You're a woman, we both know it's true/By the things that I have done to you'' and the chorus subsides temporarily, a warped moog riff careens across the pounding instrumentals. Then the chorus reemerges, everything erupts, and it's all over. A calm instrumental breakdown tricks you into a breather, and then the next song whips you straight back onto your feet.
There isn't much to hold against this album. Its brevity (at just over half an hour) gives it an edge in that it gets in and out (excuse the innuendo! DFA made me do it) by rocking your socks off, getting your limbs a-flailin', and then leaving you in a cold hard sweat. However, you also can't help but lust for more. The finisher 'Sexy Results' features that instrument-of-the-moment, the cowbell, and puts it to good use in a song that will draw it plenty of dance punk comparisons. And why not? Grainger's sleazy vocals, the killer bass hooks, the bongos, and a reeling moog riff are all the right ingredients to finish up an album that calls out to our most animalistic passions. This record will have a place in my stereo for every party and pre-pub piss-up I have for the next few months at least, I can guarantee it.
8.5 / 10
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