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Album Review: Physical World by Death From Above 1979

After their breakup in 2006 and eventual reunion in 2011, Canadian punk duo Death From Above 1979 released their highly anticipated sophomore album Physical World at the beginning of September. Quite frankly, if you’re not familiar with the band why the hell aren’t you? Their 2004 debut You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine was superb and Physical World picks up where they left off.

The key difference between their debut and Physical World is the fact that this time around they’re far more accessible. While it may be an easier listen the band haven’t lost any of the energy or spark that made them so special to begin with. The synths take more of a back seat with the whole album having more of a traditional rock feel.

The guitars are huge. Sonically and dynamically Physical World pounds the ear drums from beginning to end. ‘Right On, Frankenstein!’ has a delightfully churning riff while the drumming pummels you. ‘Virgins’ is a prime example of the bigger sound of Death From Above 1979. The riffs have a deep bluesy feel, driving and forceful, Sebastien Grainger’s vocal rasps with a tinge of aggression and frustration. ‘Always On’ takes a slightly slower approach, letting the vocals come to the fore, the riff at the 1 minute 40 mark is outstanding though.

‘Crystal Ball’ is another storming track, packed to the rafters with big crunching guitars, executed with finesse. It’s one of the best mainstream punk rock songs you’ll hear this year. What makes Physical World such an exhilarating album is the fact that that it’s an unbelievably enjoyable listen. The massive guitars pack such as serious punch it shouldn’t turn out anywhere near as accessible and instantaneous as it does. Some people could describe it as rock music for the masses, but that’s not due to it being sanitised and watered down, it’s just because it is that damned good.

‘White is Red’ is the stand out track of the album. It’s catchy as hell and has that instant wow factor; you can’t help but sing along. Needless to say the guitar work is yet again absolutely stunning. It’s radio friendly just like lead single ‘Trainwreck 1979’ which has a chorus that would have Radio 1 listeners wetting themselves with excitement.

‘Nothin’ Left’ and ‘Government Trash’ are short and invigorating blast of raw punk rock energy with the latter being especially note worthy for its raucous climax. ‘Gemini’ is a tale of the absurd life of an ex-girlfriend; lyrically its tongue in cheek but musically it’s absolutely superb. The synths make their first obvious appearance in album closer ‘The Physical World’ and like the rest of the album they’re more refined and more accessible than first time round.

While Death From Above 1979 may have disappeared 8 years ago, they’ve come back sounding current and every bit as exhilarating as they first were. Physical World is a superb album and worthy of a band held in such high esteem. One of 2014s essential albums no matter what your tastes are.

AD Rating 9/10

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2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Alt Dialogue’s Top 50 Albums of 2014 | Alt Dialogue
  2. Album Review: Outrage! Is Now by Death From Above – Alt Dialogue

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