Death From Above 1979 are the Canadian rock pioneers who pushed the boundaries in terms of just how much noise can be produced from a bass and set of drums. Their latest album Is 4 Lovers is a prime example of the old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
By Graeme Smith
There’s so much for dyed-in-the-wool DFA1979 fans to love in Is 4 Lovers. It’s the band at their loud, sensual and experimental best. Track two One + One, which was also released as a single back in February, should go down as one of their most memorable tracks alongside previous fan favourites like Romantic Rights and Blood On Our Hands.
But even if you’ve not heard the band before, they’ve left a large footprint in the rock world, influencing bands with a similar set ups such as Royal Blood and Blood Red Shoes. If you’re a fan of power duos, Is 4 Lovers is your chance to discover where the sound began.
Of course, being influential can be a double-edged sword and the many pretenders can make DFA 1979’s sound feel a little stale nowadays. Thankfully, the guys haven’t stopped innovating. In Is 4 Lovers, they have doubled-down on their signature sound. Everything is more. It’s more punk, more fuzzy, more bohemian, more political, more relentless. The best example of this is the two-parter track N.Y.C. Power Elite which I have no doubt would get a big response live.
But, just to undermine everything I’ve just said, the album takes an unexpectedly chilled turn as things progress. The duo of tracks Glass Houses and Love Letter ditch the noisy punk for electronic and hip-hop elements.
Mean Streets ties everything nicely back together – a loud/quiet track with a bed of piano that is stirred up by frenetic interludes of distorted bass. Finally, No War ends the album with epic blues. Hopeful instrumentals juxtapose cynical lyrics.
Is 4 Lovers shows that DFA 1979 aren’t going anywhere and are perhaps more important in the musical landscape than ever. Existing fans may be challenged by it but will ultimately love it; so will new ones too. The album is out on 26 March.