Record Bulletin

Record Bulletin, 5/20: Death Grips – “Fashion Week” and “Jenny Death”

Have a Sad Cum

Maybe, finally, this will be the last entry on Death Grips. It’s a band I’ll revisit at some later date and reevaluate, because there’s something undeniably fascinating about them; really, really don’t care what you think of them, flipped big fat birds at their record label, so disrespect their fans that they booked several gigs they never intended to perform at. As a result of the hubbub they created around themselves, I wonder how many people judge the music fairly—meaning it’s awfully difficult to disassociate yourself from all they say and do outside their music. Not that those things can’t or shouldn’t sway your judgments—they definitely affect mine—but you have to wonder what a sober mind encountering them years from now, unknowing of their escapades and attitudes, would make of their cacophony. I’m not too sure myself.

death grips fashion weekDEATH GRIPS – Fashion Week (free download): Instrumentals less visceral than their more recent output, probably because death metal vocalist MC Ride isn’t at the mic. Enjoyable maybe for the devotee, but for someone like me—who thought The Money Store and No Love Deep Web were pretty good but plays them pretty rarely—this is nothing more than a placeholder between Niggas on the Moon and Jenny Death, and only slightly more interesting than Government Plates. B PLUS (*)

jenny-death-coverDEATH GRIPS – Jenny Death (Harvest): To be honest, I never expected MC Ride and crew to deliver the goods, and despite all my best inclinations, I’m not sure I care that they did. Perhaps because they strive for weird so much of what came before now seems mild—compare the three-year-old “I’ve Seen Footage,” arguably DG at their most, er, accessible, with leadoff “I Break Mirrors With My Face in the United States”; one has a groove, a fist-pumping chorus, and cryptic, don’t-need-to-know lyrics. The other has a guy so hideous glass shatters in his presence, whose choice lyrics and geographical setting you could get Marxist about real quick. Whereas their weirdness was once a vehicle for delivering ideas in unorthodox fashion and felt crafted by human beings—albeit weird ones—Jenny Death’s occasional illusion of song structure is about as warm as the band is willing to get. Opposite of everyone else, I still prefer Niggas on the Moon, think No Love Deep Web probably outdoes The Money Store, and that the (possibly?) final chapter of DG’s strange and implosive career confirms only that they were Pretty Good and Definitely Odd. I’ll simply rest my case by saying that while I haven’t been around long enough to always trust my judgments, I’ve been around long enough to know being purposefully enigmatic does not equate talent. B PLUS (**)

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