Death from Above 1979, Outrage! Is Now | Album Review
Canadian rockers Death from Above 1979 deliver a compelling, energetic third studio album with ‘Outrage! Is Now.’
Canadian punk-rock duo Death from Above 1979 – Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastien Grainger – returns with its latest studio album, Outrage! Is Now. Interestingly, Outrage! Is Now serves as only the third studio album by the duo, which has been in existence since the early 00s. Though not prolific, Death from Above 1979 proves quality trumps quantity any day throughout the course of Outrage! Is Now. Comprised of 10 tracks and running just 36 minutes, it’s a tight, enjoyable affair.
“Nomad” kicks off Outrage! Is Now in spirited fashion. The guitars and bass are jagged, chocked full of grit, while the drums are pummeling. From the jump, “Nomad” is hard-hitting, further accentuated by the whiny, biting vocals of Sebastien Grainger.
Throughout “Freeze Me,” Death from Above 1979 keeps things energetic. The first sign it has hit-potential is the groovy, opening piano. This recurs during the verses, creating a danceable vibe. Soon enough, drums and guitar join the mix, adding grit. Despite the additional instrumentation, Grainger has no trouble rising above the production with his commanding, expressive pipes. Ultimately, soundness is the name of the game. The production work is superb, while the music is dynamic and biting.
The guitar riff is ear-catching on “Caught Up,” not to mention the funky groove that anchors things down. Grainger delivers a rhythmic-melodic vocal that’s on-point from the opening note. Making things even more appealing is a simple, but infectious chorus.
“I’m not caught up like all the other guys but I’m still caught up on something.”
Title track “Outrage! Is Now” is as compelling as everything that precedes it. Set in a minor key, it’s dark yet exuberant at the same time. The lyrics are quite captivating. It seems that Grainger is suggesting that outrage has become trendy, overrated, and counterproductive.
“Never Swim Alone”
Death from Above 1979 keeps things short and sweet on “Never Swim Alone.” Once again, chocked full of energy, there are gritty, distorted, whiny vocals, a characteristic f-bomb, and sick guitar work. Ultimately, it’s simply delicious, especially the catchy chorus that tell us to, “NEVER. SWIM. ALONE!”
“Moonlight” continues the showcase the utmost consistency. Like most of the songs on Outrage! Is Now, there’s an intriguing instrumental intro that sets the tone. Here, there’s an interesting chromatic emphasis that gives the record mysteriousness. Beyond the elite music, the lyrics themselves shine. Grainger’s tone of voice is noteworthy, particularly when he sings in an undertone in his lower register.
“Statues” is the longest song of Outrage! Is Now. Like many songs, it’s built around an infectious riff. Grainger sounds top-notch vocally, infusing ample personality into his performance. Among the most memorable lyrics occur at the end of the verses:
“I know it might seem like some other girls have the luck / Some boys cry and others fight and f*ck.”
“All I C is U & Me” is up-tempo, embodying the punk-revivalist spirit. It’s not nearly left-field as the majority of songs from Outrage. Normally, that might be a rub, but it’s a nice change of pace as nothing else sounds like it. Is it the crème de la crème? No, but it’s enjoyable and energetic.
“NVR 4EVR” slackens the pace a might, but still keeps the tempo rolling. Death Above the 1979 remain fired up on the penultimate joint, particularly on the pre-chorus and chorus.
“I know it’s hard for you / To see, to see things through / I’m a lot like you so let’s try to see where it goes / Don’t go away too soon I’ll follow / But never forever / Never forever.”
“Holy Books” concludes the album superbly. Souped-up from the jump, the guitars sound menacing, rather hellish. Grainger delivers aggressive and passionate vocals. Lyrically, it’s clear that he’s not onboard with the whole God-fearing, Christian thing, with the chorus summarizes his sentiments effectively. A change of pace arrives shy of the two-minute mark. The change of tone and tempo are unexpected, but welcome. The original scheme returns right before the three-minute mark, reviving a sense of familiarity, including the infectious, atheistic chorus.
All in all, great music, rousing vocals, and incredible creativity makes Outrage! Is Now an intriguing effort. Death from Above 1979 make an excellent return after a three-year hiatus. There are no outright misses to be found. This is a worthwhile listen from start to finish.
Gems: “Nomad,” “Freeze Me,” “Never Sleep Alone,” “All I C is U & Me” & “Holy Books”