Death From Above 1979 can not be described in one word, unless that word is unique. The big picture of DFA is a fuzzy bass, drums, and even fuzzier vocals singing ...er... romantically charged songs. On their debut EP, Heads Up, DFA's cover, the band members heads together with elephant snouts for noses, would echo through their upcoming works. At just six songs, heads up is geniusly timed so you can listen to it in one listen. With You're a Woman, i'm a Machine, they expanded their horizon to actually put out SINGLES, complete with b-sides.
This cd is actually not released in America until nov.22, 2005, but living in Canada I quickly grabbed this anticipated release only to be overcome by suprise: it's a b-side/remix cd. "Um, ok" I said as I injected into my cd player...
Jesse Keeler : Bass, Synth
Sebastian Grainger: Drums, Vox
First, let's talk about the B-sides, Better Off Dead and You're Lovely (But You've Got Problems). Both are high energy blasts of eclectic punk with traces of dance-rock and electronica on the side. Better Off Dead takes a different approach, though, with more dance than anything. This song actually has 2 basses, and it gives our album a good start. Some might be reminded of some latter-day Pearl Jam, I know I am, but DFA gives it a new DFA-ish twist. The fuzzy bass is the more powerful of the two, but the un-fuzzy bass is the real bass highlight of the song because it shows the limits of the band and how it stretches those exact same limits, which coming up with a great result all together. You're Lovely (But You've Got Problems) is my favorite of the B-sides, the vocals are clear and easy to understand, which is a refreshment. The chorus has the bass doing it's up-down, up-down, up-down signature. and the apocalpyptic screaming is the perfect touch to this beast. Overall, the B-sides are the strongest part of the album because they aren't overly indulgent with too many excess parts to them.
One of the most remixed songs on the album is the funky powerhouse of Romantic Rights. The original song is a very danceable track with punk roots, and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the entire duration of the song. Erol Alksan's Love From Below re-edit is a rather un-exciting song, considering it doesn't really differ much from the original. Despite the lack of bass in the intro and it's addition at an awkard spot, it can manage to maintain your attention by it's second chorus where the more straight-forward song enters the arena and stays until the finish. Also, it adds a synthesizer, the only actual difference that separates this version from it's original. It's a fascinating addition, because it borders on both incredible and annoying. The Phone Lovers Remix is the best rendition of RR, completely different from the original, and it doesn't have to be 6:00 to entertain. It's really severely edited, so true believers of the original might hate it, but it really depends on your opinion on techno/metal. That being said, this song is alot heavier than other renditions of RR, and the techo twist just makes it all the more interesting. An almost video-gamish version, the Marczech Makuziak remix is a great rendition of the song. The synth-like vocals are great, and if you liked the other two versions, you'll continue that streak with this dancable jem. Kudos to Marc-however the heck you say that name. The most danceable version, however, is the Dahlback Remix. It starts exactly the same as the original, but danci-ness thakes over. The synth bass follows the pure-dance rhythms perfectly, and the whole song continues with it's dancable rhythms that will satisfy those floor-tearers out there.
One of the best songs from the original album, Black History Month is a very down-beat song that combines alarming timing with very a dark atmoshphere. It's still a fantastic song that you can dance too, but just much less upbeat. The Alan Braxe & Fred Falke remix is a much heavier version of the song, and it isn't until now that you realize it's a refreshing break the shynthiness. The ride doesn't last long, though, as the second chorus kicks a synth in the mix but the song manages to keep it's roots of heaviness, while continuing that tradition of danciness. The verse is my personal favorite part of the song, followed by the bassy bridge. The Josh Homme remix, however, is quite the opposite. The xylophone at the end of the original is stretched out over four minutes, which is deemed completely unnecesary and uninteresting. However, the last two minutes seem to cram as much fury into them as possible, with somewhat pathetic results. It's a distasterous, unsatisfying song. It's boring, it's repetitive, and you could fall asleep listening to it .Easily skipable, and only truly bad track on this cd. The Sammy Danger mix is much moreore like it, it's a good mixture of actual intruments with noises that go from screeching abrupntess to controlled mush. The guitar(") in the verse is something to savour. and the chorus is a mesh of bass-n-drum-synth yumminess. Definitly a highlight, it'll satisfy even the most genre-strict people. The Girl On Girl Revision Feat.Final Fantasy Remix samples an orchestra at bits, and this grand rendition is personally my favortite remix on here. The violin in the chorus is reminiscent of Michael Jackson's immortan Billie jean, and it's just awesome. Then in the 2nd chorus, the intrumentations take full flight and it becomes a dance-floor novelty, without seeming ridiculous.
There are three songs on here with only one remix each. We have Blood On Hour Hands, remixed by Justic, and Little Girl and Sexy Results remixed by Jesse's electronica outfit MSTRKRFT. All three of these songs are quite interesting, however I was dissapointed to see only one remix of Blood on our Hands. Thank God, however, because it's pretty much completely original. Again, taking a more dance-approach to the song, the opening is nothing more than the vocals slicing up the original's, with it's twisted rhythms and woozy figure. However, as it progresses, it's gets so danceable that it's nothing short of an exception on the album. It's completely original, and for the faster parts of the song, the synth makes a triumphant double-time rhythmic rendition. The MSTRKRFT rendition of Little Girl is a great listen, even for those who aren't a fan of the actual song itself. It takes a different turn all together, while remaining a little bit loyal to the original. I'm not that big on this song, but the new and sole version of this song manages to capture my interest for the song. It sounds a lot like Black History Month, which is the cool thing about this song; how they make it sound different. The Sexy Results remix is, however, somewhat lacking. It starts off with the French whipering, over the original music of the song. It's mainly a more uncivilized side of DFA, and the result is nothing more than confusing. Not really a great song but it's acceptable. The shallow lyrics can get on your nerves, and the music is the only great thing about this song.
There it is. A bizarre, weird, interesting album that follows the tradition of DFA79's individuality. They're one of my favorite bands, and this cd impresses me in terms of diversity. Definitely recomended for fans of Death From Above and electronica lovers, but otherwise look out - this album is very narrow-minded and could be a turnoff to people looking for a more diverse listen, even for a remix album.