I want to call this ‘emo noise-rock,’ but I’ll refrain from going that far and instead replace the term ‘emo’ with ‘good looking’ (plus, this record’s too smart for that label). If ever there were a noise rock band to bring home to mom and dad, this would be it; Death From Above 1979 sure have come a long way in a short period of time. I once caught them in concert before they adopted the necessary add-on to their name, and to be honest, I was underwhelmed. They were a noisier band back then, their ability to shock was slightly higher but their sound was much less cohesive. They were loud and messy, and to be frank, one song seemed indistinguishable from the next. Perhaps it was simply the live setting, but the truth seems now to be that Death From Above 1979 hadn’t yet fully matured.
The biggest surprise from this release is the fact that Vice put it out. You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine is totally unlike the fodder of some other Vice artists (ahem...VIETNAM). This record is not a passing fad, it’s not a throwback, and it most certainly isn’t trying to aspire to any heights simply for the sake of indie stardom. For too many bands, the equation seems to go something like this. (A) create band + (B) adopt burgeoning style = (C) shitty music. If the idea of being in a band comes first, than the music is usually second rate. Lucky for us, Death From Above 1979 seem to have been born with an innate desire to rock peoples socks off (and perhaps a few more garments for that matter).
I was a bit skeptical about the release of You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine at first. All the signs were there to indicate that DFA1979 had always been one of those formulaic bands. The noise rock niche, the buzz, and then becoming a part of that roster. What could have been a moderate release at best has turned out to be one of the coolest records this year. The whole thing is just dripping with a nasty, seductive charisma. Check the grimey sexuality of "Blood On Our Hands" and "Pull Out" ("I love my girl / I want to get her off / Turn the lights up / So I can see / 1 2 3 / Push in"). There is a softness in this record (stemming from its romantic and/or sexual bent) that makes it easy listening/soft rock for the noise crowd while remaining just loud enough so as to not scare away the newbies.
You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine is a welcomed heartfelt racket. Instead of the usual lightly strummed guitars, quivering voices or soft electronic beats, DFA1979 offer up a furiously fuzzed out bass and some manic drums (with the occasional cowbell) to create a record pulsating with reckless sensuality.
/dec 1st 2004/