Death Grips: Jenny Death (Harvest Records)
LP / CD / DL
9 / 10
Death Grips announced last year that they will be dropping a double album ‘The Powers That Be’. After releasing the first half ‘Niggas On The Moon’ late last year the band have, finally, released the second half ‘Jenny Death’. Simon Tucker reviews.
The wait is finally over. After dropping the first part of a two-part double album (The Powers That B) early last year (the excellent, and divisive Niggas On The Moon featuring chopped up vocals by Bjork) Death Grips have now released the second part of the album, Jenny Death. The wait for this release was an excellent example of a group building up a tension and anticipation within their fanbase and even caused them to create the hashtag #JennyDeathWhen on Twitter.
Truth be told, I ignored all this guessing game as I’ve learned that when it comes to Death Grips ANYTHING can happen at ANY time. They can drop an album overnight, they can break up via a message written on a napkin, they can just set up their gear then leave their gigs, they can even drop an album with an erect cock on the cover. Death Grips do what Death Grips want to do and when they want to do it. Oh and do you REALLY believe this is their last album???
So has the wait been worth it? To right it has been. Jenny Death is one of the bands most confrontational, experimental, yet also accessible albums to date. Whilst the noise, dissonance, and extremities are still present and oh so correct, there are also moments where songs groove and play out like a cross between Black Flag and Black Sabbath.
Take opener I Break Mirrors With My Face In The United States. This song smashes you around the head with squall and thunder as MC Ride preaches about not caring about real life and repeats at rapid speed the songs title. This is only part of the story however as half way through a concise rhythm is introduced turning the gabber into the groove. Hardcore punk meets techno via bounce-up thrash. Yes, this has most certainly been worth the wait.
Next up we are introduced to Inanimate Sensation and this is where the band truly fuck with the listeners mind as, when peeled back to its roots, Inanimate Sensation is a dance-floor smash (albeit a twisted, anarchic dance-floor). The song is in a perpetual state of motion as it winds and winds dragging you into the air before slamming you uncaring back down to earth with some shuddering, tech-dub. Quite possibly the finest song on the album, Inanimate Sensation is a darkly comic six+ minutes and deserves to be blasted out in many a club. It will slay anything that’s gone before it and leave everyone exhausted but ecstatic.
Turned Off follows and we embark on another left turn as a sixties noir-psych guitar plays plaintively smoothing the mind ever so slightly before we lurch into a trash sludge riff that groans and sledges. A full on groove number, Turned Off is where Death Grips revel in breaking the rules laid down by genre specifics. Wolves in sheeps clothing, sci-fi in classic literature.
Why A Bitch Gotta Lie and Pss Pss bend rules further as the former’s mutant disco and the latter’s gonzo roll both digest and regurgitate past defining cultural movements and slam them into ’15 with no respect for the how and why.
The title track then sticks up his nasty little head and plays out like a b-movie horror full of death, glory, and spit. It’s probably the most uncomfortable listen on the album as we deal in murder/suicide and “furious anger”. Instrumentation comes in swathes and we are treated to a form of dubstep that is unlike anything other before, once again, a pattern emerges and the song morphs into a monster riffer. Pure metal.
The album then twists and winds down dark avenues as the anthemic (yes you read that right) Centuries of Damn and crunch, heavy metal re-imagining On GP both tell us that yes it’s ok to look back to the past for inspiration but you must always, always, ALWAYS, bring you and yours to the here and now.
Jenny Death closes with the techno freakzoid assault of Death Grips 2.0 (maybe a clue that there is yet another direction the band are going to go in the future) and then…..it’s over.
Jenny Death is art. It is life and death, passion, and nonchalance. It is beauty, it is evil. It is fun, it is twisted. It is an album that EVERYONE should listen to as it is states firmly that, yes indeed, there has been great music made in the past but to dwell on it will make you a stale, irrelevant artist. You must keep progressing with every step. You must NOT be afraid to challenge people’s perceptions including your own audiences. You must keep fighting those that appose you and your beliefs and if you don’t like what’s happening or don’t like the current de norm then do SOMETHING.
This is not the final chapter in the Death Grips story. There will most certainly be more music from them. I for one will wait patiently for that moment.