ALBUM: Death From Above – Outrage! Is Now

Release Date: September 8th 2017
Label: Last Gang Records


With the climate of the world today, the word “outrage” would be a pretty brief and direct, yet nonetheless apt word to describe what an awful lot of people are feeling and indeed witnessing all too often.

In the same respect, you could also argue that “outrage” is a pretty good term to use when it comes to describing the kind of sound and material that Death From Above produce; the Canadian dance punk duo best portraying what it would sound like if the likes of Daft Punk and Pulled Apart By Horses teamed together.

In turn, though not an openly political or lyrically outspoken record in terms of the current state of affairs, ‘Outrage! Is Now’, the title of the band’s third full-length acts as a double entendre of sorts, and, with the 1979 now officially omitted out of their name as they had initially intended, it seems that with it they’ve also left behind the feeling that the band, and its expectations and legacy, is something of a separate entity entirely. Death From Above is what they make of it, not the other way around.

This time around, bassist Jesse Keeler and vocalist/drummer Sebastien Grainger are quite clearly not trying to replicate the monumental success and expectations set in the ground work that was laid with their 2004 debut ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’ and the cult-like following that it subsequently garnered during the void of the band’s hiatus from 2006 to 2011, something that sophomore and comeback ‘The Physical World’ was admittedly somewhat guilty of, and, instead, they’re moving forward with fantastic results.

Opening number ‘Nomads’ reeks of Wolfmother, that’s if Wolfmother were far more balls-y and, well, not rubbish. Grainger incorporates a pretty simple yet clever play on words with its chorus, as he yells “Nomad never home, no matter where you go”, working on the pun of “No matter” and “Nomader”.

There’s a definite Matt Bellamy (Muse) vibe and air to Grainger‘s vocals in the verses of ‘Moonlight’, and it almost croons over and rides with the intense and fast tremolo riff work from Keller, before things start to swell into a rather frantic and outrageous mid-section.

Lead single ‘Freeze Me’ is a catchy affair, and ‘Never Swim Alone’ has an undeniable and bombastic swagger to it. This would easily slide into those sleazy rock ‘n’ roll and leather pant crotch grabbing rock bands of the 70s and 80s ala Guns ‘N’ Roses and, in a similar vein, I dare you to not want to nod your head along to the main riff that pulses through ‘Statues’.

Although for the most part rambunctious, curtain closer ‘Holy Books’ is a definite comment on the religious community, and definitely takes the atheistic viewpoint on it all. Grainger‘s wailed and infectious chorus hook of “I don’t go for no holy books, those ancient rhymes they ain’t got no hooks” is yet another moment on the record that clearly holds a subtle influence from the hard rock and rock ‘n’ roll community, before it leads to a short piano section towards its end that gives the record to a polished and elegant finish. It’s remarkable to think that the work of just two people can sound this huge.

Still maintaining that dance punk sound at its core but experimenting far more, especially from the hard rock world, ‘Outrage! Is Now’ is a record that oozes confidence and dominance from front-to-back. It’s a record that thinks it’s the absolute shit, and, if we’re being frank about it, it is.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)