Wow! Now this is what I call a riot. Baltimore's `The Death Set' are a grisly, lo-fi car crash of vicious post-punk and twisted Nintendo-pop, delivered with reckless abandon and in refreshingly-short, anthemic micro-blasts. Formed in 2005 in Sydney, Australia by Johnny Siera and Beau Velasco, Beau took a back seat as the band went global leaving Johnny to recruit Baltimore native, Peter O'Connell to double guitar and vocal duties. To flesh out their sound, the group is rounded out by whatever drummer can play fast enough on a fcuked up kit. As a unit, `The Death Set' play spazzed-out high energy punk incorporating laptop programming alongside a punk rock formula of guitars, drums and vocals. To get a rough idea of their sound you'll have to imagine the skeletal melodies of Fugazi played through a vintage cassette player over which warping digitized blips and rousing punk percussion are played. Vocal duties are shared between Peter and Johnny and are raw and grating, coming across almost crazed-female sounding at times and exuding pure energy and youthfulness.
On `Worldwide', `The Death Set' play two types of music. Either they go into an off-kilter whirlwind of crazed Nintendo-punk or they create bouncy sing-along's by injecting a little bit more melody and slowing things down a touch, but only a touch mind. The former is displayed with aplomb on hyperactive digi-punk tracks like `Intermission' which will have you shouting `The Motherfcuking Deathset' at the top of your voice. On `Impossible' a dual vocal attack creates pure energy over a skeletal tapestry of 8bit melodies and intermittent offerings of chunky bass and primitive percussion. `Day in the Wife' see's the group go into overdrive with a short burst of intense noisecore but without the downtuned guitars, resulting in a track that is a particularly stomping hi-nrg whack in the groin and which sounds like `Your Enemies Friends' set alight and played at 45rpm.
In their more contemplative mood `The Death Set' don't disappoint and carve out catchy melodies and alluring arrangements. `Moving Forward' sees the group create a giddyingly captivating piece of harsh yet melodic pop-punk whilst `Around The World' is a real shamanic sing-along piece that revolves around a cascading 8bit melody. The playful vocals and upbeat melodies create a garagey, nursey-rhyme aesthetic which reminds one of a less harsh `Ride The Sky's era `Lightning Bolt'. Interestingly their live performances are conducted in a similar vein as part of the crowd instead of on stage.
Through utilising a no-holds barred disregard for conventional music arrangement and by conducting their efforts with a DIY garage-rock aesthetic `The Death Set' really set the pulses racing. Their chirpy rabble-rousing lifts the emotions whilst their turbulent hardcore creates the perfect soundtrack to psychedelic, epilepsy-inducing Japanese cartoons. Ultimately, if you are looking for a short, sharp shock to your system and want something to wake you up from the dreary formulaic-ness of daytime radio then get `Worldwide' and play LOUD. (RM)
For fans of: Liars, Fugazi, Lightning Bolt, Your Enemies Friends, The Advantage