The Toronto dance-punk duo, Death from Above, gained enormous popularity in Toronto leading to international success in 2004 with the release of their debut album, You’re a Women, I’m a Machine. The band was on their way to stardom, but in 2005 they broke up leaving fans wondering what they could have achieved. 2011 marked the beginning of reunion tours, and in 2014 they dropped The Physical World. Now three years later they released their third studio album, Outrage! Is Now, which keeps their signature sound while experimenting with groovier rhythms.
Leading up to The Physical World, there was a decade worth of expectations and excitement from old fans. It was almost impossible to live up to the hype of a 10-year hiatus. Now there is much less attention on them and less pressure from fans to try to replicate what they put out 10 years before.
Jesse Keeler (bass guitar) and Sebastien Grainger (vocals, drums) deliver on making a solid, fun album. Jesse’s bass has a phenomenal distorted growl that gives a sense of fullness even when the bass is the only instrument in the mix. Sebastien has continued to improve his vocals and delivers on quick and funky drum beats. Overall Jesse and Sebastien seem to have a few slower tracks that are more reminiscent to rock but still capture the high energy they do so well.
“Nomad”, and “Holy Books” are the two standout tracks on this album. These two songs blended their authentic dance punk sound while still sounding refreshing. They have very catchy choruses with aggressive instrumentals, and the experimentation, specifically on “Holy Books”, pushes their personal boundaries. The piano interlude in “Holy Books” is a welcome addition, not seen much in their previous music, leading into a powerful final chorus closing off the album.
Although there are no bad tracks on the album, there are a couple that are forgettable. With the album only being about 36 minutes, the songs “Caught Up” and “Statues” drag on a bit too long and unfortunately negatively effects the overall album. However, these tunes still provide an enjoyable listen and show the consistent quality of the music they release.
Song for song, Outrage! Is Now is a solid album but doesn’t fully capture the greatness of their debut. It is lacking real memorable moments that would take this album over the top. It is important for fans not to be stuck in the past, and I welcome the direction that Death From Above has taken on in this record. I can’t wait to hear what they continue to release and have a chance to see these songs performed live.