The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Reviews

TheDeathSet
Worldwide Luke Turner , April 11th, 2008 00:00

TheDeathSet - Worldwide

The expedient dropping of "motherfuckin'" from their moniker might have made TheDeathSet sound more like an Edwardian tea circle with literary pretensions and a suicidal bent than some gut-out hipsters from Baltimore, USA, but it's done nothing to tame their sound. Yet there are thousands of bands making this kind of ADD racket across North America, pressing records with garish sleeves like this one, playing in each other's basements, hanging around dive bars and coffee shops, scratching their facial hair in profound awareness of their countercultural significance. Given that they released a record an EP named 'Rad Warehouses, Bad Neighbourhoods', TheDeathSet could easily be the epitome of this, a vapid bellylaugh for Vice readers as they try to discover what sweaty delights lie beneath the shiny American Apparel leggings of some wastrel, gone on a cocktail of Pabst and Sparks.

In short, this sort of thing is often as dumb as the very dregs of macho late 70s punk, and made even more unpleasant by a contemporary ironic pose. Worldwide, though, couldn't be further from this. This is a fractious, messy, exultant, discordant and immensely fun record. It's dumb and brash with an miniscule attention span, sure, but there's an indefinable edge to all the scrappy tracks, some, like 'Bla!', as short as 21 seconds. Based around joyous, overdriven fuzz, stammering drum machine, yappy synth and androgynous vocals, Worldwide's 18 tracks are a riotous caper, rollicking and a-rolling through a hectic 25 minutes of gritty, carnal pop.

As well as being able to write a killer hook, TheDeathSet know how to make their nods subtle " the otherwise fractious 'Superzero', for instance, takes a spin with a very 'Cars'-esque synth, and is all the better for it. Some tracks, 'Had A Bird', or 'Listen To This Collision' say are, weirdly enough, reminiscent of 1990s Digital Hardcore loving tweecore types Helen Love, albeit a tattooed Helen Love twisting their cutesy hairclips in your eyes. Other moments, like 'Day In The Wife', resemble Le Tigre at their most guitar-focussed and aggressive.

Unlike those bands TheDeathSet don't have an overtly political stance. But that's not to say that no intelligence lies within these brash, lo-fi explosions. Take 'Peak Oil', for instance. It deals with impending environmental collapse and the foolish reliance of the American economy on black gold with a killer hook and a pithy chorus of "you'll be walking everywhere, you'll be walking everywhere." In the Death Set's hands, simplicity is a weapon, rather than poorly disguised ineptitude. Whether experienced on a belting stereo or if you're caught in their live maelstrom, TheDeathSet make for fine company. Would someone pass the cyanide?

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.