Since the White Stripes emerged on the scene, there has been a glut of two-man bands flooding the musical landscape. The Kills, The Raveonettes, The Unicorns, The Fiery Furnaces (see a pattern here), Mates of State, and several others bring a creativity and a full sound, making the standard rock quartet (i.e., John, Paul, George, Ringo) seem inefficient and lazy. True, most of these bands were around before White Blood Cells, but the sudden convergence of these two man (or boyfriend/girlfriend, brother/sister, ex-spouse) tandems all at once has gone a long way to eliminate the idea as a novel marketing approach.
Death From Above 1979 are a two man group based out of New York that combine dirty rock, retro electronics, and danceable rhythms, and are not to be confused with the DFA (Death From Above), the two man production group based out of New York that combine dirty rock, retro electronics, and danceable rhythms. To be fair, DFA79 are a different beast (at times) from the work of Goldsworthy and Murphy, but the confusion is possible. You’re a woman, I’m a Machine, their first album, however will go far in helping DFA79 making a name for themselves. Sebastian Grangier (drums, vocals) and Jesse Keeler (bass, synth) have crafted a two man powerhouse
The squealing bass riff/colossal drum beat on opener “Turn it out” bring to mind a more focused Lighting Bolt, which is what DFA79 are in the most oversimplified description. But once again, unfair comparisons aside, You’re a Woman is much more than the sum of its influences. Death From Above 1979 does for guitar players what the White Stripes do for bass players; make them obsolete. And just like a bass would distract from the Detroit duo’s work, DFA79’s material with a lead guitar player would take away from the magic they create.
“Romantic Rights” is a magnificent slice of 70’s cock rock without the solo. In fact, if there was any one word one could conjure up for You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine it would ironically be excess. You can smell the cocaine on “Sexy Results,” an in and out dirge with heavy tambourine and tom work. Despite all but four tracks clocking in under three minutes, there is an epic quality to the music. On the title track, Keeler moves between riffs at blinding speed, complete with breakdown.
If the titles weren’t an indicator, the lyrical input goes down tried and true path of girls. Despite songs being called “Pull Out,” there isn’t an overriding wave of misogyny that one would expect. You can practically hear them wink on “Little Girl”, which combines a low end Sabbath riff with a tambourine hi-hat, with Grangier moaning “When can I see you/can I know you/can I hold you/own you.” “Cold War” even features the chorus “If you love her/let her know/but if you leave them/tell’em so” before breaking down in a spiraling conversion of distorted bass and off time drumming. The metaphor of love as a war has been done before, but Grangier and Keeler have some fun with the topic, even reversing the meaning on “Pull It Out,” which features a closing sample of a general instructing the best course of action.