ALBUM: Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World

Release Date: September 9th, 2014
Label: Warner Bros. Records


After years without an appearance and leaving fans with just one full-length record, music duo Death From Above 1979 have finally returned. ‘The Physical World’ cements their comeback to the stage with the usual intensity and beats that has been longing to be reciprocated since their last release just short of a decade ago.

The disappearance of DFA1979 is one which has left many still scratching their heads. With such an appreciation for the duo around the music world, the fact that they just simply fell off the face of the earth after 2004’s ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’. We all missed the collateral bass notes and eclectic beats. But, now we finally have them back.

However, one question still remains: with all the optimism, relief and excitement that comes with, not just DFA1979, but any comeback album in general, is it worth the wait? Well, to answer that question, it is certainly a DFA1979 album. That may not satisfy those who want a definitive answer, but that’s the best that the material offers.

‘The Physical World’ demonstrates the two-piece doing what they do best and nothing else. It is by no stretch of the imagination iconic or a milestone for the band, but it is by all means enjoyable. All the driving bass numbers are present in tracks such as ‘Always On’, while tracks such as ‘Crystal Ball’ allow Sebsastian Grainger to teach all amateur drummers how to tame a hi-hat. We’re even subjected to a DFA1979 take on a slow song in the shape of ‘White Is Red’.

On the other hand, the band isn’t let off the hook with certain pieces of material. Tracks such as ‘Trainwreck 79’ hardly suggest any form of innovation from DFA1979. Although it differs in terms of hook and direction, it doesn’t brim with inspiration. Rather, it feels like a more half-hearted take on a pop chorus.

That being said, the latter tracks of ‘The Physical World’ make an attempt to salvage whatever doubts may still be left of this comeback record. ‘Gemini’ sends a whirlwind of synth sounds and heavy bass guitar, while lead single ‘Government Trash’ sees DFA1979 take a turn down the punk route.

Whatever may be said about disappointing comeback albums may be thrown in the direction of DFA1979. However, taking a closer listen, the band are doing nothing that they haven’t already done before and, frankly, that’s fine. Granted, it may not hit quite as hard this time around and it may not resonate as much as ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’, but there’s still a lot here to be admired and appreciated.

Written by Calv Robinson