By Scott Birnie
Released September 5th, 2014 - Warner Music
‘Trainwreck 1979' as a standalone statement, that is enough. Loud, heavy, melodic and sweet, sour and desperate. The first release fromDeath From Above 1979's sophomore album ‘The Physical World', 10 years after their head splitting debut ‘You're A Woman I'm A Machine'and 5 years from their public implosion, vocalist/drummer Sebastien Grainger and bassist/keyboardist Jesse F. Keeler are back, and we should all be grateful.
The Toronto duo, after lying dormant for more than half a decade, set aside their explosive differences (and in Jesse F. Keelers case, his side project MSTRKRFT) to reunite for a tour of Canada in 2011. A shock to many in the industry, having already accepted that one of the freshest acts of the 2000's that had delivered one of the albums of the decade were rock road kill. The reunion and subsequent shows performing new music led to the announcement of 'The Physical World' The expectation and hype gave way to wonder, what would a garage rock/stoner rock/dance punk act with such an explosive history deliver after a lengthy hiatus?
The answer is exceptional. Working with Dave Sardy (Chilli Peppers, NIN), DFA1979 one up themselves. ‘The Physical World' is daringly different and has the grunge feel and rock balls that Josh Homme would eagerly take with a slice of Royal Blood. Opening track ‘Cheap Talk' with its dark synth tones and slack bass drawl sets the tone for 11 simply brilliantly heavy, neck throttling groove. ‘Crystal Ball' could take the lead as alternative track of the year if it wasn't for the foot stomping anthem ‘Trainwreck 1979'. The politically charged ‘Government Trash' sprints toward a calamitous finale while ‘Always on' dances its way through subjects of social media to the pit falls of the music industry ‘If we bought Kurt back to life/There's no way he would survive' Grainger screams painfully, and maybe he's right.
‘The Physical World' is an arms open welcome home from DFA1979. Maybe the break has served to settle the two as this is an album littered with conviction and potentially (hopefully) the promise of an extremely loud and long career. ‘There's No Crystal Ball/To see a happy ending', Grainger got that line wrong, as I couldn't be happier with this album and reunion.