Death By Pleasure: Waited, Wasted (MASHHH! Records)
Death By Pleasure are a guitar drum duo but step away from that lazy White Stripes comparison madam! – these guys are different. Jay Rawley listens for Louder Than War.
Since its inception, rock music has seen it’s share of genre defining lineups. Four and five piece bands of the early sixties gave way to three and four piece bands of the late sixties and early seventies. And lately in the last 10 years or so, we’ve seen the rise of the electric rock duo. But before you jump to any White Stripes/Black Keys comparisons, you better give a listen to Death By Pleasure. Other than the obvious fact that they’re two guys wielding guitars/drums, that’s where the comparisons jump off.
DBP hail from Trento in northern Italy and came together as a band in 2009. After writing and road testing new material, they hit the studio in 2012 to record the new album. So how’s it sound? When I listen to Spontaneous Combustion, the first track on their album “Waited, Wasted”, I’m reminded of maybe something by The Smithereens, but way punkier, and with a Kurt Cobain thing to the vocals and a garage/lo-fi sound that proves that grunge ain’t dead.
Next is Points Of View, which has kind of a sing along chorus that would make the perfect soundtrack for a stage dive instructional video. On Shy, Shine the band employs the quiet/loud dynamic thing that Cobain’s band used to great affect, but with DBP, it’s not just a gimmick, it’s how the song goes.
On the third track, Find a Fire That Burns, they take lo-fi into no-fi territory that reminds me of a session with grunge godfathers The Sonics, where the mixing board sounds like it’s ironically just about to find fire and melt. After a short bit of rhythmic sound effects that is the title track, we have the last song of the album, LBMB. Sonically, it’s probably the most produced track here, and following true punk ethos, may explain why the band chose to place it last. With a dissonant riff, it’s not one that leaves you all warm and fuzzy.
One cool thing is that in this age of 99 tracks and endless overdubs and computer plugins yielding sonic “perfection”, Death By Pleasure chose to record this just about as the would play these songs out live. I don’t think I heard any bass or keyboards, and other than a well placed guitar or backup vocal overdub here and there, what you hear is pretty much what you get. I know some people might find this a little disconcerting, but I find it kind of…refreshing. Give ’em a listen, and I think you might too.
All words by Jay Rawley. More work by Jay on Louder Than War can be found here.