Released 2004 (Last Gang Records)
Chances are, if you don't live in Canada you haven't heard of this band. But in Canada Death From Above 1979 (formerly without the 1979) have gotten a lot of attention with their first LP. They debuted in 2002 with their EP Heads Up
. They are expected to release a follow-up of You're a Woman, I'm a Machine by the end of 2005 as well as different versions of this album.
They are a duo, which greatly affects the band's sound. But unlike most duos, guitar and drums, two DJs, etc., the band's main arsenal is bass and drums. While most heavy bands' sound is lifted by guitars, DBA has a dense sound that doesn't really change throughout the songs. The lyrics are not 'punk' at all, and most songs have a dance/electronica sound. Jesse F. Keeler's bass takes the role of lead instrument, the basslines having the most input and influence on the songs, heavily distorted all the way. On songs like Cold War
and Pull Out
the bass being more like a lead guitar is very noticeable. Sebastien Grainger's whiny yet grounded vocals (he's also the drummer) go great with the buzzed bass guitar. Probably my favourite thing about You're a Woman, I'm a Machine are the inventive and rough basslines.
The dance/electronic sound that I mentioned before are on songs like Romantic Rights
and Black History Month
. Romantic Rights
is one of the most upbeat, and non-'punk' songs on the album, the dry dancebeat is riddled with synthesizers (courtesy of Jesse F. Keeler) making it sound like a frantic electronic song. Live of course this song has no synth, the duo being very limited on stage, but they still provide an amazing show. Death from Above 1979 were smart, to not have had synth on all the songs, giving the listener more variety in the songs. Black History Month
(they could've easily just said February don't ya think?) is my favourite song on YAW,IAM. DBA pull off electro-punk (what my friends and I have deemed them) type songs very well, without any pomp or tackiness.
Not liking the sound of electro-punk? Well it's more on the punk side anyway, but the album is roughly split between dance-punk hybrids and straight forward bass rockers. Little Girl
, Turn it Out
and Cold War
are all examples of these straight forward songs. They have similar basslines, tempos, and feature Grainger's more aggressive vocals, not really stand-outs or highlights of the album, ok songs, but lacking in variety. The closer Sexy Results
stand-outs the most on the album, with bongos, a steady yet varying bassline and a synth outro. The quirky techno noises and tremolo picked bass notes on the chorus provide a drastic change in pace from the verse.
I'm not a big fan of punk, but this album really caught my attention. Whether you like it I guess also depends how much you can tolerate heavy fast music, while the album has its slow breaks, the heavier songs bore me quicker than the rest. But the album's overall style really got me back into punkier sounding music, perhaps I was tired of listening to three chords over and over again for three minutes. If you are too, and like punk, I recommend this album to you. But at the same time, You're a Woman, I'm a Machine is hard to sit through entirely, and is more enjoyable through individual songs. That's saying a lot about a 35 minute album. The album is the boldest statement Canadian indie music has made in a while, as bold as any punk band, perhaps too bold. Still, it's catchy as hell.
You're a Woman, I'm a Machine-------> 3.5
Black History Month