Album Review: The Physical World

After a decade of silence, Toronto noise rock duo Death From Above 1979 have finally released a new album, “The Physical World.”

DFA1979 is made up of singer/drummer Sebastian Grainger and bassist/synth player Jesse Keeler. Hype has been building for this album since the band started touring again in 2011 after their falling out in 2006. While this album may not live up to their first album, “You’re a Woman I’m a Machine,” it’s still a solid follow-up. 

The first track off the album, “Cheap Talk,” starts exactly the way a DFA1979 album should with heavily distorted bass and fast paced hi-hats. This trend continues throughout most of the album, and it’s nice to hear the guys haven’t lost their signature sound.

“White is Red” is the closest thing to a mellow song the band has released to date.  Keeler’s bass has a much higher pitch than usual and Grainger doesn’t use a cymbal until the first chorus.  Even though the song is a bit of a departure from the normal style of the duo, it’s not as much of a departure as the track “Trainwreck 1979.”

“Trainwreck 1979” has the band going for more of a pop punk vibe rather than their traditional noise/dance punk.  It’s not a bad track and it carries an infectious chorus, but with the rest of the album sticking to the band’s signature sound, it’s definitely a track that stands out. 

The song “Right On, Frankenstein!” and “Always On” are true returns to form for Grainger and Keeler.  These songs sound like they could come off the duo’s debut album with loud drums and groovy bass lines that are still as fresh now as they were the first time around. 

Grainger hasn’t lost his vocal touch either since the band’s breakup.  On the track “Gemini,” he’s screaming lyrics like “My girl is a Gemini she gets things done. Sometimes she's mean but she can be a lot of fun,” all to the sound of Keeler’s high pitched distortion on bass. 

A lot of the songs on this album deliver and there’s no denying it’s exciting to have some new material from the band, but some songs are still better than others.  However after 10 years, it’s exciting to finally have new material from the band.      

If you haven’t heard of these guys, check out their first album, “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine,” as it serves as the foundation “The Physical World” was built on.  Overall this album should satisfy new and old fans alike and have them eager for more.