The Physical World

Death From Above 1979

Last Gang, 2014

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


A mere 10 years in the making, Death From Above 1979’s sophomore disc is a brief garage-rock pummeler of the type that doesn’t get made much anymore. Harkening back to the White Stripes/Vines/Hives/Yeah Yeah Yeahs revival days of 2004 – the year that DFA’s debut came out, actually – the 11 tracks crash through the door, pound and roar, push the needles into the red and get the hell out, all in 36 minutes.


Such an approach puts the focus more on mood than on memorable melody, which is probably expected after the long layoff. The duo split in 2006 and didn’t speak for five years, but an onstage session led to reconciliation and, eventually, this new project. It’s the sound of two dudes rediscovering the joy of jamming together and slamming back into gear on a road trip begun a long time ago.

The fuzzed-out guitars and dance-rock beats are thoroughly modern, with the garage revival grounding this in reality instead of the hyper-aware self-centered reality that today’s indie rock wallows in. “White Is Red” both saunters and smacks you silly, while “Cheap Talk” and “Virgins” are frenetic and athletic, sounding like a sped-up, less annoying Queens Of The Stone Age. “Government Trash” is neo-punk, the vocals and drums racing each other to the finish while the breakneck guitars try to keep up, only pausing mid-song for a few power chord strums before the second leg. You’ll get whiplash keeping up.

The closing five-minute title track starts with an Atari-inspired series of computer bleeps, moves into its main stoner rock riff and then switches into a groove underneath a long jam before ending with some synthesizer washes. It’s the most ambitious thing here, not quite keeping in tune with the rest of the record, but fascinating nonetheless.

That racing pulse and the lack of truly great songs knocks the album down a few pegs, as the energy and riffs are more akin to a great live show then a well-executed studio disc and the lyrics are pretty basic at best. There are some fine songs here, but most are okay at best, which is fine; the vibe makes up for it, and anyway, it’s been 10 years since the guys recorded an album. Get your pulse racing and don’t think too much about it, and let’s hope it’s not another decade before these guys release their next disc.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2014 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Last Gang, and is used for informational purposes only.