When Coachella organizers added Death From Above 1979 to the festival’s 2011 lineup — in a prime spot right below the Strokes and Kanye West — reactions ranged from a raucous “Well it’s about fucking time!” to “Who?” The latter camp was especially understandable considering DFA 1979 disbanded less than two years after releasing their 2004 debut, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, which racked up gold sales back home in Canada but didn’t exactly crush the Stateside charts.
Considering they weren’t even on speaking terms when they split up, the pair’s tentative reunion could have easily been a quick cash grab to pad their solo pursuits (shape-shifting singer-songwriter fare for drummer/singer Sebastien Grainger, proto-EDM productions for bassist/keyboardist Jesse F. Keeler) and reassert the stupid-awesome status of singles like “Romantic Rights” and “Blood on Your Hands.” But as Grainger told NME earlier this year, “The goodwill of reuniting doesn’t sustain you. People wanted more music and we wanted to provide it for them.”
So here we are, weighing the worthiness of The Physical World three years after DFA 1979 decided to test their patience with each other once again. And what do you know? Their chemistry is still intact and as combustible as ever, from the delirious melodies and snarling mission statement of “Trainwreck 1979″ to the molten dance-rock grooves of “Cheap Talk.” Aside from the applied brakes of “White is Red” (a ballad, if you can believe it) and the avant-techno underpinnings of the title track, this is an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it situation — comfort food for anyone who still remembers when Vice was a decent record label/magazine, not a multiplatform YouTube magnate. It’s satisfying, bullshit-free stuff, best enjoyed in spasms and spurts.