Death From Above 1979 were pretty much the perfect band. Two rad – and not to mention outrageously handsome dudes – with one incredible album. Toronto’s Jesse F Keeler and Sebastien Grainger had a lavish, White Stripes-ian approach to their backstory. Originally named simply Death From Above, but adding on the 1979 “the last year of the last cool decade” after LCD Soundsystem’s label DFA Records took issue with the similarities, they fed everyone a series of increasingly elaborate lies concerning how they met. Some were told it was on a pirate ship and others that it was in prison, but where they met didn’t matter – what mattered was what they had and what mattered even more was the fact that they had made of the 2000s’ most exhilarating albums.
Released almost 10 years ago, 2004’s ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’ was an immediate, stone-cold cult classic. A brutal fusion of hardcore, disco and punk, the track names were as confrontational as they were entertaining from ‘Blood On Our Hands’ to ‘Sexy Results’. After four singles, a tour supporting Foo Fighters, and a run of their own explosive live shows – including one very bizarre one that I went to in a 15-year-old kid’s family living room in West Norwood – in 2006 the group announced their split, saying they’d been as good as broken up for a year. Things were far from happy in camp DFA 1979. In a post on their website Keeler said that the only time the pair would speak to each other was onstage and during interviews. “We both changed so much that the people we were by the end of it, probably wouldn’t have been friends if they were to meet for the first time again,” he wrote. Both Keeler and Grainger continued to make music, Keeler with MSTRKRFT while Grainger put out a solo album. They vowed never to reform Death From Above 1979.
However, in 2011 they announced plans to get back together, resulting in a full-blown riot, complete with mounted police wielding tasers and mace at the tiny backyard space in which their SXSW comeback show was staged. Evidently they had been missed. This week, via NME, the band announced news of their first LP since their 2004 debut. The internet well and truly lost its shit. Concerns however were also raised. Could a new album match up to the majesty of their first?
Frankly, we’re not worried. When the band themselves are describing the new material as “Springsteen meets Sonic Youth”, its clear that we’re in very safe hands. Their 2011 gigs proved that they were still exceptional musicians, still fired up, still angry and still more than happy to bring the racket – something that’s bound to feed into any new release. Think of the ten years worth of track ideas they’ve no doubt been sitting on too – there’s got to be some gold in there. ‘The Physical World’ is set for release in September – don’t expect anything less than an out of body experience.