A decade after the snarling electro-rock of Sebastien Grainger & Jesse Keeler’s much beloved debut album, You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine, comes the recently reunited duo’s sophomore effort, The Physical World.
If you’re looking for their debut version 2.0 spare yourself the trouble, The Physical World is not that, but what it lacks in nostalgia, it makes up for in maturity.
Grainger and Keeler have unfinished business on this, their sophomore album. Physical World is both a snap shot of the dance-punk of the early to mid-2000s that captivated indie music fans and a skeptical progression by the reformed duo. You’re A Woman’s urgency lingers as the boys are still willing to knock you around unlike most records you’ll hear these days.
The Physical World doesn’t push as hard as its predecessor, but is still an intense and potent sound at its core. The sleazy flirtation and revulsion of angry, lovesick twenty-somethings on You’re A Woman can’t be recreated. After all, both men are now in their mid-thirties. Instead the outwardly political “Government Trash,” thrashes with an intensity that’s a welcome return to the DFA of old, while opener “Cheap Talk,” reminds listeners they haven’t strayed far from the dancefloor entirely.
Elsewhere Grainger groans the irresistible hook; “24/7 still believes in heaven/raspberry lips never been kissed” on “Gemini.” The most pop-conscious cut “White Is Red,” finds the duo’s skills as craftsmen, something in their playful youth they seemed least concerned with.”Trainwreck 1979,” the album’s obvious single is a Black Keys/Tame Impala song only heavier, and one of the duo’s most accessible cuts to date.
Death From Above 1979 had the impossible task of following up the hugely impactful You’re A Woman, 10 years after it’s incarnation. The more grounded Physical World can’t help but feel like a let down in comparison to Grainger and Keeler’s only album, but its a fun record, that recreates their sound. It’s unlike any rock record in recent memory or likely to be heard in the near future, it may not feel as experimental or as urgent to exist but Physical World is a welcome return.
SV Approved: “Government Trash,” “Gemini,” and “White Is Red.”