Death From Above
Outrage! Is Now


2.0
poor

Review

by Daniel Dias CONTRIBUTOR (37 Reviews)
September 10th, 2017 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As great as their intentions may be, there's no dodging the feeling that Death From Above sound like a pedestrian rendition of their former selves throughout most of Outrage! Is Now.

You're a Woman, I'm a Machine came out 13 years ago already. The once uncompromising, irreverent dance punk outfit behind it didn't take long to make a splash, but soon dissoluted at what appeared to be an even quicker pace; and, had they remained dormant, there wouldn't have been any reason to point fingers at them. After all, Death From Above's debut record, if not spectacular, amounted to a respectable exercise in noisy, sleazy rock music, delivering an entertaining if not limiting-to-improve-upon sound. Said limitations must have played a significant role in the duo's demise, but popular demand saw fit to encourage their return after a decade of non-activity. What people probably didn't expect, however, was that, by 2017, the band would be presenting themselves like a watered-down version of Muse and Kasabian, or sounding dangerously close to groups that took inspiration from them in the first place - i.e. Royal Blood.

If anything, Outrage! Is Now is more frustrating and annoying than it is underwhelming. If the general consensus was that The Physical World pointed towards the notion that the heights achieved on the first record had no business being reached again, this release amplifies that idea to an even larger extent. Snippets of creative songwriting and inventive recreations of DFA's sound can be found on a number of occasions on the group's third full length effort, but rarely do they ever lead to fully fleshed-out and accomplished songs. The record itself feels overbearing in its repetition of ideas and general staleness, in spite of only being about 36 minutes long. The furious "Nomad" is an obvious but ultimately deceptive choice for album opener: its furious heavy bass attack and memorable wailing vocals make for a great, quasi-epic sounding track and an easy standout, but this unfortunately serves as no foreshadowing of what's to come.

For a considerable portion of the album, Death From Above seem content to either squander potential via atrocious lyrics, or pursue a radio-rock direction that, not only does the duo absolutely no favors, but also feels dated by about 10 years. Example A: "Never Swim Alone." Super Mario Underground ripoffs aside, this track actually comes off as one of Outrage! Is Now's most captivating and exciting pieces instrumentally. The dirty riffs and almost tribal, pounding drums harken back to You're a Woman, I'm a Machine in style, while creating a fittingly simplistic and raw template for Grainger to stretch his vocals on. But, of all things to sing about, the man decides to make a tongue-in-cheek, sassy, satirical commentary on modern culture and millennials (not my term), which in itself could be overlooked if it didn't contain appalling lines such as "Pray to American Idol, YouTube haircut so in style" or "Comment section: suicide." The list goes on. Elsewhere, the uneventful title track, "All I See Is U & Me" and "NVR 4EVR" all suffer from DFA's apparent tendency to shoot for anthemic choruses, but whereas there seemed to be a sense of spontaneity in You're a Woman, I'm a Machine most memorable hook-based moments, here those feel contrived and uncalled for most of the time. "Freeze Me" is another good example, its piano line bringing a refreshing change of pace and building up potential, only for it to be tarnished by a middle-of-the-road, by-the-numbers singalong chorus that has been done more than a fair share of times by Matt Bellamy or Dan Auerbach. The band does echo some joyfulness on songs such as "Caught Up" - bolstered by its groovy, handclap-driven rhythm - but it almost feels like too little for a supposedly fun album that is ultimately too meticulous to serve this purpose well, Grainger's tepid girl-done-me-wrong gimmick and vocal inflections getting old and unpleasurable to listen to quicker than desired.

For a record so based and focused on its polished, bordering-on-sugary choruses, your enjoyment of it should very much depend on your enjoyment of its hooks. If you love Muse as much as Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler seem to do, you should have no problem finding redeemable qualities in Outrage! Is Now. If you, however, are more inclined to believe this style of watered-down, domesticated, radio-oriented rock has been done to death already in the preceding decade, you'll probably be left with a sour taste in your mouth by the time closing track "Holy Books" fades out, reflecting whether or not Death From Above's reunion came for the best. Even though there are fragments of good songs scattered around, they feel more like wasted potential than payoff for sitting through the album's most uninspired moments. Great as their intentions may be, there's no dodging the feeling that DFA sound like a pedestrian rendition of their former selves for most of Outrage! Is Now's runtime.



Recent reviews by this author
Queens of the Stone Age VillainsChris Cornell Higher Truth
Alfa Mist AntiphonMoon Hooch The Joshua Tree
Royal Blood How Did We Get So Dark?Tiger Trap Sour Grass
user ratings (73)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Simon Killip CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
I'm out of rage, maybe it's my age?...


Comments:Add a Comment 
danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
September 10th 2017


11535 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I feel like Sput loves this band a lot more than i do.

Feedback appreciated.

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 10th 2017


5248 Comments


You're a Woman was a fun enough listen, but it was immediately obvious that the band were a flash in the pan with a small handful of good song ideas.. nothing worse than a flash in the pan that won't go away..

Class review !

Digging: Scratch Acid - The Greatest Gift

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
September 10th 2017


21851 Comments


Really great review. Their last album was my first with them, and I've never really tried the first (blasphemy, I know), so I'm curious to see how that effects my opinion.

Digging: Grinning Death's Head - Blood War

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
September 10th 2017


11535 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks and spot on, Butch.



Spirit i'm sure many will tell you to listen to their debut asap, i personally don't think it's as amazing as its average rating here suggests. A nice listen and a couple of really good songs but overall nothing to get too hyped about. Curious to hear your thoughts on this.

VirtualBlaze
September 10th 2017


627 Comments


Their logo gets smaller with every album. If they happen to make another album, I hope the whole cover is just their logo, as a tiny dot in the center.

Digging: The World Is a Beautiful Place... - Always Foreign

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
September 10th 2017


11535 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Haha.

Chortles
September 10th 2017


20735 Comments


great review! this band should have left it after their first album for sure

Digging: DJ Rashad - Just A Taste

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
September 11th 2017


1367 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

First two tracks are absolute bangers, and the rest is fairly forgettable.

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
September 11th 2017


11535 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks, Chortles : )



Nomad is great for sure Crisis, but i really, REALLY dislike Freeze Me haha. Must be the chorus.

IceDoesntHelp
September 12th 2017


129 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

That second single they released was absolute trash, so I'm cautious about this release. I'm gonna start it up, hope to god its decent

IceDoesntHelp
September 12th 2017


129 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

I'm distraught. I was hoping for so much more from them.



RIP DFA

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2017


11535 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Hey there, Ice.



I thought i was pretty much alone on my DFA criticisms but it's nice to know that's not true.

IceDoesntHelp
September 12th 2017


129 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

I love, love You're a Woman. Consider it one of the best records of the 2000's, this is just depressing. Outrage! is just the zombie of the once great band.



First two songs are the only songs that clicked with me, the rest is just filler.

dbizzles
September 12th 2017


10017 Comments


Did you hear their last album, Dan?

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
September 13th 2017


11535 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Never been a big fan of You're a Woman but i could definitely find enough serviceable material there Ice, not a very popular opinion but hey haha. Glad we see eye to eye here regardless :D

Dbizzles i never heard it enough to rate it or really even remember most of it at this point, but i definitely remember it not having done much for me when i did give it a listen. Suppose i could go back to it some time this year but i make no big promises haha.

dbizzles
September 13th 2017


10017 Comments


Oh, yeah, no big deal. I was just curious. I thought it was pretty good, kinda wore off of me. I never thought these guys were as big as the hype to begin. You're a Woman, I'm a Machine has a few standout tracks and the rest is just okay, imo- actually thought their last album was way more consistent.

Have only heard this once, but plan to jam it a bit this weekend.

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
September 13th 2017


11535 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"I never thought these guys were as big as the hype to begin."

Oh so i see we're on the same page too haha.

LethalPaintball
September 14th 2017


551 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

moonlight goes hard and i guess i like a few other tracks idk what to think of this

Digging: DJ Okawari - Compass

WillieD
September 14th 2017


152 Comments


This is exactly what I expected after the last album. They should've just quit forever after the first album. They're just a watered down version of themselves.

Don't even get me started on the atrocious mastering.

LethalPaintball
September 14th 2017


551 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

at least they released a better royal blood album than royal blood did this year



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy