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Death From Above 1979—The Physical World

A lot can happen in 10 years. Since the release of Death From Above 1979’s blistering debut You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine in 2004, the bass and drums garage rock duo have broken up, gotten back together, and are finally back with their sophomore effort, The Physical World. While it lacks the firepower of its predecessor, The Physical World has more than enough relentless bass riffage, gut-busting drums, and breakneck tempos to deliver the goods that Death From Above 1979 fans have been missing for oh-so-long.

Above all, Death From Above 1979 are three things: loud, fast, and surprisingly catchy. Bassist Jesse F. Keeler has a knack for crafting gritty yet memorable grooves buried beneath the band’s trademark wall of distortion. The album is at its best when these are paired with Sebastien Grainger’s full-throttle drumming and larynx-shredding vocals on songs such as “Right On, Frankenstein,” “Government Trash,” and “Cheap Talk.” While the album doesn’t depart much from the sound of their debut, its sound remains just as fresh and instantly recognizable.

However, The Physical World isn’t without blemish. On tracks like “Virgins” and “Trainwreck,” the band seems to be copying the garage rock movement they helped to inspire in the first place. The latter adds in generic lyrics such as “I want it all” and “I can’t get enough” to make for an uncharacteristically middle-of-the-road song from such a decidedly innovative band.

Despite its shortcomings, The Physical World is a worthy continuation of the odyssey that is Death From Above 1979. On the title track, another of the album’s many standouts, Grainger shrieks, “I’ve got a feeling this is never gonna end.” Let’s hope he’s right and that we don’t have to wait another 10 years for him to say it again.

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