Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Death Grips - Jenny Death (Review)

Okay, so this is "final" part of the "final" record by the notorious Sacramento trio Death Grips - fine purveyors of the most punk rap outfit since fuck knows when. I'm using the scare quotes purely because Death Grips have actually, since the leak of this record onto the internet, intimated that they may actually make more music, rather than going out on a high as they'd originally planned. So far, so typical for DG. But regardless of whether this is the final release or simply another stunt cooked up by the band, we're left to ponder this record, and how it fits (if at all) with the other "half" of The Powers That Be, together with the Bjork-sampling Niggas On The Moon

The opener is already poised to tear of faces and scream into your eyeballs with "I Break Mirrors With My Face In The United States" and pretty much doesn't let up until the finale of "Death Grips 2.0", an instrumental track with one of the more infuriatingly oblique titles in the DG catalog (is it an indication of what you heard was the end of DG 2.0, or that this is simply the beginning of the new version of this vehicle? Only time will tell there). "I Break Mirrors..." almost Digital Hardcore-levels of speed and pulverizing beats combined with electronic drones and bleeps and MC Ride's hellbent for leather vocals at maximum serves as a fairly brutal introduction to an album that rarely lets up in terms of vicious production and straight-for-the-jugular vocal delivery.

"Inanimate Sensation", one of the tracks the listening public (read: rabid legion of DG fans) managed to hear before release kicks in immediately thereafter with its combination of woozy, nausea-inducing synths, layered hummed and screaming vocals and one of the more easily recognizable song structures of the record. Unfortunately, a combination of a strong start to the record leading into a far slower track, and those nausea-inducing synths lead to the track overstaying its welcome a bit through its 6-minute track length, but this is pretty quickly forgotten when then the strained guitar tones of "Turned Off" - one of the gems of the record - kicks in, leading to the frenzied attack of bassy distorted guitar and Zach Hill's drums. At this point, I was pretty much sold that this is the punk-influenced high-energy record I wanted from Death Grips since Exmilitary

Through the heavy-as-fuck guitar and vocoder fuckfest that is "Why A Bitch Gotta Lie" to the psych-influenced gorgeousness of "On GP" (yet another track heard pre-release), the strangely leftfield and developed structures of "Centuries of Damn" and "Pss Pss", this record seems to be the opposite end of the sporadically interesting but rushed-sounding Niggas On The Moon. It sounds like not only have Death Grips found a new sonic world to bounce off've with the addition of psychedelic and punk guitar samples, but have actually used this to extend their ideas structurally while totally retaining the senses of immediacy and urgency that made them so vital in the first place. 

Barring the occasional overstayed welcome (al a the aforementioned "Inanimate Sensation", "Beyond Alive"), the album is one of the most immediate and viscerally brilliant pieces of music I've heard in a while. If this really is the mark of Death Grips version 2.0, I'm waiting for the next installments with baited breath. 

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