The Death Set – "Worldwide" album review

The Death Set are about to make Baltimore’s next major foray into the happy areas of indie minds everywhere with their release of their debut LP Worldwide (after 3 EP releases).

If you’ve ever wished for an ass-load more drum machine or laptop-sourced glitchiness with your punk music…you need to be into this band. Originally hailing from the Gold Coast, Australia, Johnny Siera and Beau Velasco hoofed it to our shores a few years ago, landing first in Brooklyn, then high-tailing it to our fair, charming city and buddying up with Wham City, Dan Deacon and their ilk while residing and recording in the Copy Cat.

Fitting since their material is exactly what you’d expect out of the wacky collective.

The Death Set have a sound similar to many of their glitch-pop peers like Dan Deacon, bleep-blooping their way into your pants. But the punk edge they give their music really sets it apart, giving it a whole other level of energy and purpose. Their specialty is injecting deceptively simple, catchy melodies with ample amounts of distortion, digitization and adrenaline (or maybe coke) and just going with it.

And boy does it work.

After a disposable, short intro track, the album opens with two of the Deathset’s strongest tracks. “Listen to Collision” delivers a frenzied laptop synth beat that gets the blood flowing, while “Negative Thinking” lays down ridiculously simple-yet-catchy guitar/bass work over top of a gently walking MIDI keyboard line. Vocals on both tracks feel like an entire room shouting in one synchronized, joyous freakout. The tracks ooze positive vibes and a sense of uplifting hope and community. And isn’t that all a dance-crazed punk kid needs in this day and age?

“Around the World” is an excellent showcase that the band doesn’t need to turn tempo and volume up to 11 in order to be effective. Tracks “Peak Oil” and “Day in the Wife” veer over into some slightly asymmetrical, thrash/post-punk that are just as catchy and crazed as their glitch-punk.

The band can falter when it tries to go for a more pure sound, like on the relatively straight-ahead punk tracks “Heard it all before” (boring punk song, or boring Mega Man level soundtrack, I can’t really decide) and “Cold Teeth” (the only thing that sort of saves this song is the strangely appealing, wailing, childlike, wordless chorus).

Their club-influenced instrumental tracks, while competent, serve mainly as filler that really break up the flow of the album. But I’m fairly certain they work wonders live.

The only other problem one encounters with the Death Set is that their sound just doesn’t vary enough for extended listens. Obviously not a problem live, but one can only freak the fuck out alone in your room/car for so long before you get a little bored. I guess it’s good that most tracks clock in between 30 seconds and 2 minutes in length, eh? I recommend you get to a live show near you once they start touring in support of Wordlwide, or just buy the album and pop it in when you really need to go ape-shit crazy.

Death Set – Negative Thinking

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