Album Review: Is 4 Lovers by Death From Above 1979

Death From Above 1979 is a Canadian rock duo from Toronto. The band consists of Jesse Keeler and Sebastien Grainger. They released their first album in 2004, but broke up a few years later. Nearly ten years after their debut, they were able to come back together to create some new music and drop their sophomore album. Now, Is 4 Lovers marks Death From Above 1979’s fourth studio album.

The first track from the album is Modern Guy. First glance into Death From Above 1979, and I’m greeted with a glaring electric guitar. The loud and screeching eventually fades into a quicker riff that’s repeated over the track, but a very powerful opening that will grab anyone’s attention. The instrumentation just gets that much crazier towards the end to give us that extra edge we’ve been waiting for from them. Even the vocals perfectly match the intensity.

One + One opens up with more of a pop-like beat, but after it goes on for awhile, the main guitar riff finally comes in. Not as intense as the first track, but not a bad track at all. This was also a promotional track for the album so some people are already familiar with this one. About halfway through the track, I’m definitely getting a Matt Bellamy inspiration from Muse based on the vocal technique. Even if it’s reverbed and distorted, the vocals are there, minus the falsetto voice.

Free Animal marks the first sub three minute track we have from the album, but it definitely doesn’t skip out on intensity. A bit more intense than the previous track, but still laid back compared to the first track. The guitars definitely get more distorted and powerful during the second verse and chorus though. According to the artist, this track is about just being a free person and not having a boss or person control you, which may be relevant with the rising popularity of freelancing.

The next two tracks marks a two-parter. We start off with N.Y.C. Power Elite Part I. We start off with a much darker bass line that seems to carry the beginning of the track. After digging through the lyrics a bit more, this definitely talks about the wealthy and the moral character of them. They say that they’re just like everyone else, but ‘just add zeros’, which is probably referencing the amount of money that they have, or are worth.

Now we move into part two, N.Y.C. Power Elite Part II. It definitely carries off a bit from the previous track, but we do continue to have the dark, distorted guitar/bass lines. While it is the shortest track on the project, I’m definitely enjoying the darker and heavier vibe that they were able to produce on this one. This track was written for an old aunt, and the band member thinks that this person was just so old and tired of living since she was in pain.

Totally Wiped Out is a little less energetic than our previous track, but don’t get it wrong since this is a high powered track with the high-pitched vocals. However, it does seem like they have used this energy and licks on previous tracks, so nothing completely new. After digging into the lyrics, they’re using lyrics about surfing, however, it’s not about actual water surfing. This is more so drowning in an internet or technological addiction.

Glass Homes totally changes up the vibe of what we’ve been hearing so far. Instead of blaring guitars and bass, it switches to a more electronic synth vibe. I was a bit surprised to hear this, but they’re able to make it work on this album since they keep the energy. The last minute of the track is a bit different since it’s just using some chopped up vocals and recycling it to add to the beat. Other than that, a solid track to throw in here.

I don’t know what it is about Love Letters that just captures my attention. This is by far my overall favorite from the album. They don’t even really incorporate any strings until later in the track. It opens up with a basic piano line that just puts you in a certain mood. We do get some glitzy synths during the chorus, but the simple piano line is the main driving force of the entire track. Also, the soft and soothing vocals are a nice touch to the track.

Mean Streets also draws from some strong piano lines, just like the last track. It’s a bit surprising they are taking away from the strings on this track, especially since they’ve tried to change up the style a bit on the last few tracks. We do have a quick bit of high intensity guitars and bass towards the middle of the track, but it just comes and goes like nothing ever happened. It’s a quick track though so nothing too much going on towards the end of the album.

The final track we have from the album is No War. Besides the strange one-second sound clip at the beginning, we have some quick high-pitched strumming. While I have yet to check out the album, the band talks about how this track can connect with their previous album, Outrage! Is Now, especially with the political aspect. They talk about how people need to change their entire mindset about war and understand that it wasn’t really that great.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Favorite Tracks: Modern Guy, N.Y.C. Power Elite Part II, Glass Homes, Love Letters

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