Death from Above 1979 – “Is 4 Lovers” Review
Death from Above 1979 is not a band many Americans may know. But if you’re from their home country of Canada, they may sound familiar.
The two artists, Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastien Grainger, gained their fame in 2004 with their debut of “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine.”
This band, much like many others, did have a breakup, but their timeline is much shorter. After “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine” became a hit, the band split in 2006. It wasn’t for long, though; in 2011, Death from Above reformed. Soon after, they produced the album “The Physical World” in 2014.
Death from Above 1979 is known for its music in the genres of punk, rock and dance-punk. They can feasibly draw comparisons to music groups like the White Stripes and AC/DC. Death from Above’s music does scream rock to listeners, but it is still quite different from the bands they’ve been compared to.
In this album, “Is 4 Lovers,” it’s very noticeable that all of the songs together create a greater story—the story of love. And not the kind you see in Disney, like perfect true love. Rather, love in the real world: desire, action, want, arguments and prosperity.
As a whole, it’s as if Grainger and Keeler want listeners to really understand that love is not some perfect thing but rather something people must work through.
“Modern Guy” starts off the album with a smash. Right from the start, we hear the classic strum of the electric guitar playing loud, energy-shaking notes. This throws listeners right into the rock and dance-punk feel of the music.
The song just sounds like rock, especially with the extremely gritty vocals—a great touch that makes the album begin with the perfect sound.
“One + One” shows the desire side. The song is all about how one wants the person they desire most. The line “love is action,” is repeated throughout this song, showing that love doesn’t take 50% and 50% but instead 100% from both lovers.
Later in the album, there are sister songs “N.Y.C. Power Elite Part 1” and “NY.F. Power Elite Part 2.” “Part 1” starts with the heavy electric guitar and that gritty mic. The song just makes the listener want to bounce their head to the fast-paced beat.
The most noticeable part of “N.Y.C. Power Elite Part 1” is the ease of the transition from it to “Part 2.” With the echo of the last sang word on “Part 1” listeners have to play the songs in order to make it complete.
This little touch is a nod back to classic rock albums of yore in which flowing from one song right into the next was a common practice (which has since largely disappeared these days). This move allows Death from Above to ensure listeners that they belong in this retro genre.
After listening to such a gritty sound marked by heavy guitar and drums, the song “Love Letter” catches the audience off guard. “Love Letter” stands out like a sore thumb in the album. It is slow with a soft beat and piano at the beginning. It’s a great song, and it’s arguably the best on the album, but some may argue that it doesn’t belong on the record.
Directly after “Love Letter” is “Mean Streets,” which also starts off with a soft piano and beautiful chords. Unlike the last song, “Mean Streets” does eventually jump up into more of a screamo. Going from one spectrum right into another is difficult, though, and many listeners aren’t fans of this type of song.
Together, “Is 4 Lovers” is an album all over the place. Many people prefer to listen to one type of genre in a single album, let alone a single song. Death from Above throws listeners for a loop when they perform on such a wide variety of music.
Nevertheless, the album does have good music, though one may argue that the band needs to pick a lane and stay in it.
Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “Love Letter”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “Mean Streets”
Cade Miller is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Second-Year / Broadcast Journalism