After reverting to their original moniker earlier this year, Toronto dance-punk darlings Death From Above return with their third full-length, ‘Outrage! Is Now’. Sonically, the album carries on from their 2014 comeback, ‘The Physical World’, sacrificing some of the intensity of the band’s earlier work for the kind of musical maturation one might expect from a band their age.
Songs like ‘Freeze Me’ introduce new elements into DFA’s sound, such as the extensive use of piano, which goes down a treat, complimenting the track’s already enjoyable grooves. Crucially, though, the song is still suitably noisy and loud where it matters – and that’s what helps ‘Outrage!’
Even the most straightforward songs like the title track and ‘All I C is U and Me’ still pack a punch. DFA have never shied away from hooks, and while the noisiness might not be quite as pertinent here as on ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’ (or even ‘The Physical World’), the high-octane atmosphere remains.
That isn’t to say ‘Outrage!’ is simply a bunch of upbeat bangers, though – ‘Never Swim Alone’ couples a jarring, off-kilter riff with shouted vocals, and ‘Moonlight’ is built around a crushing, ominous, metal-influenced riff, and contains a bizarre noise section. Both songs are executed with the utmost skill, proving that DFA can still be this heavy and weird when they want to be, albeit in a more mature way.
‘Outrage!’ isn’t perfect – there are a few duds like the opener ‘Nomad’, and the straightforward rock song format becomes a little grating after the double bill of ,‘All I C is U and Me’ and ‘Nvr 4evr’ near the album’s end, despite both tracks being pretty fun in their own way.
Despite it’s flaws, though, ‘Outrage! Is Now’ shows us where DFA are at right now – an evolved, middle-aged version of the hip young indie rockers they once were who are, nevertheless, able to remain true to their established standards.
‘Outrage! Is Now’ by Death From Above is released on 8th September on Last Gang/eOne.
Words by Alan Cunningham (@funeral_polis)