The Dance-Punk Album We Waited Ten Years For

The Dance-Punk Album We Waited Ten Years ForCourtesy of

Death From Above 1979 is back, with a new album that needs to be burned and shoved into your car’s CD player as fast as possible. The Physical World, released a few days ago, is a mad splash of gritty rhythms and deadly guitar riffs with lyrics as smooth as leather. What makes it even better is that it was never supposed to happen.

After instant success with their 2004 album, I’m a Woman, You’re a Machine, the Toronto-based dance-punk duo found themselves touring with the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age, launched headfirst into a promising career. With Jesse F. Keeler on bass, synth, and backing vocals, and Sebastien Grainger on vocals and drums, the pair skidded into stardom sweaty and shirtless, with a rush of grungy hits trailing behind them like breadcrumbs. But as quickly as it had begun, it all came crashing down. Death From Above 1979 had gone silent by 2005 and officially disbanded in 2006, due to conflicts over creative differences and musical style.

Keeler posted the following in their official forum on August 6th, 2006: “I know its been forever since I wrote anything on here. I’m sure by now most of you assume the band isn’t happening anymore since there are no shows, no work on a new album, etc. well. I wanted to let you know that your assumptions are correct. We decided to stop doing the band… Actually we decided that almost a year ago.”

“We finished off our scheduled tour dates because there were good people working for us who relied on us to make a living and buy Christmas presents and pay rent etc. We couldn’t just cancel everything and leave them out to dry… Plus I think we wanted to see if we would reconsider after being out on the road. Our label was really hoping that we would change our minds, so they asked us to keep quiet about the decision for at first. Well, it’s been quite a while now and we are still very sure the band won’t happen again, so I guess it’s time to say something.” Fans rode out the 7 stages of grief, and Death From Above 1979 soon faded away. Now, a decade after their first album, they throw The Physical World at us. It’s even better than before.

Unlike some punk albums, their melodies actually take you somewhere and then resolve nicely, making their hardened punk sound mature and accessible. “Right on, Frankenstein!” is a definite standout, and for some reason, makes me crave Halloween. The gravelly progressions almost take a turn for the pop as they pound out catchy lines like “I don’t wanna die but I wanna be buried, leave me at the gates of the cemetery!” The razor-sharp tracks still have that reckless garage band charm to them, but every transition is icy clean. Death From Above 1979, it is good to have you back.