Death From Above 1979 delivers a short but great fourth album


The album art for “Is 4 Lovers.”

Andre Hall

The dynamic bass guitar and drum duo Death From Above 1979 returns with their fourth full-length album, “Is 4 Lovers.” This project arrives over three years after the group’s previous effort, “Outrage Is Now.” While “Is 4 Lovers” may be their shortest project yet, the pair is as energetic as ever.

One of the staples of the group is stellar bass work, and this album showcases that bassist Jesse F. Keeler still has plenty to offer in that department. Right off the bat, the opening track “Modern Guy” kicks off with a scorching ascending riff that sucks the listener in. This is one of many examples of Keeler experimenting with new bass tones. In some cases, such as “Totally Wiped Out,” it’s hard to tell if a melody in the instrumental is a synth or Keeler continuing to bring his bass to new heights. In terms of catchy riffs, just about every track delivers on that front.  

The duo decides to shake things up on this album by exploring some new sounds. “Glass Homes” is a groovy synth number that sounds like a retro video game. While they have utilized synths before, they’ve never had a track revolve around them as much as this. It’s new territory, but they manage to take this sound and make it their own. Vocalist and drummer Sebastien Grainger’s melodies bring forth the same swagger and energy, as usual, making the track feel right at home in their discography. “Love Letter” is a new direction for them too. It’s probably the closest the band will ever come to making a piano ballad. This gentle tune is a very sweet inclusion to the tracklist.

“Is 4 Lovers” has no shortage of blistering tracks that bring back the adrenaline of their iconic debut album, “You’re A Woman, I’m a Machine.” The track “Free Animal” boasts the strongest riff on the album and has a bombastic drum performance to back it up. The main groove proves the duo’s songwriting is so strong they can repeat the same riff throughout the length of the song and it’ll never get old. The two-parter “N.Y.C. Power Elite” keeps that momentum by launching into a wall-of-sound chorus that houses the catchiest melody on the whole project. 

Despite only being 31 minutes long, “Is 4 Lovers” feels like a much more substantial project than the runtime would imply. It feels longer than that, not because it drags on, but because it has so much to offer in that time span. In just half an hour, the duo managed to unleash their signature sound and continue to play with new bass tones and venture out into new styles.

Final verdict: 8/10