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CD of The Week

Week of 4/05/21

    Death From Above 1979 - Is 4 Lovers (Spinefarm)

    Those who are fans of Death From Above 1979 surely enjoy visceral, noisy, fuzzed-out dance-punk. On the Toronto duo’s fourth album Is 4 Lovers (numerical pun intended?), they deliver just what you’d expect. Formed in 2001, Sebastian Grainger (drums, vocals) and Jesse Keeler (bass, keys) have dropped 10 new songs totaling just over 30 minutes in a thrill ride of an album that seems as if it could jump off the rails at any point. However, DFA1979 never lose focus and deliver their most DFA1979 album yet.

    If Is 4 Lovers is a testament to how a band can develop its sound without reinventing the wheel, then “Modern Guy” is the anthem that shoots the album right out of the gates. Granger is quoted as saying that it’s a “metal Beatles version of ‘Reeling in the Years’ by Steely Dan.” Nostalgic for their 2004 debut and new at the same time. Lead single “One + One” is a fantastic track about familial love, as Granger’s first child was born during the making of this album. Other themes of love are present, especially in the most delicate song of the ten, the piano-led “Love Letters.”

    DFA1979 tackle the sociopolitical landscape of America, specifically New York City, from a Canadian point of view. “N.Y.C. Power Elite Part I” and “... Part II” both skewer the subject matter. “Mean Streets” builds off another piano melody until it bursts with angry noise in the second act, echoing the tone of the film and the main character it name-checks. While on “Totally Wiped Out,” every single one of us gets called out for being addicted to our screens with Granger shouting “Surf ‘til you’re dumb.” Album closer “No War” grinds the album to a halt just like it starts, with Keeler’s bass screeching through an overworked amp.

    Musically, the album has two fairly distinct sides, with the second half relying more on keys and piano to drive the songs, though the gas rarely lets up. Overall, it’s not quite as theatrical as Muse or The Voidz, but more electro than Queens of the Stone Age. Death From Above 1979’s latest offering is full of accessible, energetic thrash that fills the room more so than many of their contemporaries.
    Review by Dave Lindquist

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