Album Reviews

Death From Above 1979 – You’re A Woman I’m A Machine

(679) UK release date: 21 February 2005


Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman I'm A Machine

If you’re the type who enjoys blowing raspberries and flipping V signs at the noise police, buy this record right now. If you’re not, then call them without delay.

These are just some of the schisms you’ll experience on listening to this record. It was quite tempting to throw it out the window by track two, but journalistic endeavour got the better of me.

Death From Above 1979 are the Simon and Garfunkel of thrash punk. One of them drums. One of them plays bass. They both sing. I know, I know, but bear with me.

If you take away the art school cover, the tight black jeans, the equally tight black shirts, the designer stubble and the Shoreditch mops you’re left with two young men who spew the more stupefied moments of Queens Of The Stone Age (i.e. most of Songs For the Deaf); pack the sensibility of Metallica; unleash the controlled ferocity of At The Drive-In into two instruments (and the occasional extra); while churning some stonkingly sweet garage-punk in the vein of the MC5.

DFA 1979 are much like a band you’ve probably come across playing a festival side stage. Picture the dehydrating heat. You decide to head for the solace of a tent. Nearby you hear a fiercesome racket and decide to take a closer look. The band are visceral. There’s only two them! This sounds pretty good! But then it starts to mush into the same fuzzy sound of Bleach. Over and over. After fifteen minutes you’ve had enough. You’re ear is ringing and you’ve got a bit of a headache coming on.

You’re A Woman… is that experience. DFA 1979 stagger it by spreading the five corkers in an odd even format from Going Steady onwards. It’s a wise ploy which keeps you engaged enough to want to see out the album. But it’s far too patchy.

Turn It Out and Romantic Rights crunch along like most young men do when they discover how hard a snare can be smashed or a bass ridden fret to fret. Going Steady kicks said snare over as it blizzards with its breakneck riffage and awkward stalls. It does though, make you appreciate bass playing when the correct tweaks are amplified to an amp, to the point it engenders a virtual guitar fuzz that comes out as every girdered bass line is assaulted.

Things dip midway through until the best moments finally chalk up with a thrashy triumvirate of Little Girl (U2‘s Vertigo faster and dirtier), Cold War (pedal-to-the-metal punk) and the scorching title track.

You’re A Woman… is both an annoyingly good and frustratingly bad debut. The bonus disc evens things out with its extras (why weren’t they on the album proper?) and ace remixes. If you’re an inherent waverer, like me, you could burn the good tracks and give it to a mate for their birthday. But this is one of those grower albums. In fact I’m enjoying it right now with a cool can of XXXX. I might also add that I’m stressed. You could do a lot worse than investing in some plate smashing therapy only offered by Greek weddings or angry girlfriends. Make of it what you will.


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