Towards the butt end of this year it started to seem like Death Grip’s antics overshadowed their music, which would be a shame, because not another band in the game is making such dark, enticing, forward, and catchy music like they have been over their brief three year career. With the recent cancellation of their anticipated Fun Fun Fun Fest set (which followed a no show earlier this year) it seemed the band was starting to let their punk-rock antics take center stage. Then out the blue two weeks back, they dropped “Government Plates” for free and put the doubters to rest.
Starting with the sounds of shattered glass and a piercing screech the record opens with the incredibly heavy and frantic, “You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat.” A song that is one of the least hip-hop oriented tracks the band has made, sounding more like the noise-rock group Lightning Bolt. Following this track however, are a couple of the most hip hop oriented tunes on the album, “Anne Bonny” and “Two Heavens” the former containing thick distorted drums/vocals and an impressive tempo change, while the latter has Ride’s vocals pitched up over Hill’s tight, metallic drumming.
After the punch the first three tracks deliver, the album starts to show more of it’s recurring themes; mainly, a heavy presence of Flatlander, who’s influence was much more diminished last time around. As usual, Zach Hill drums incredibly over the entire album, but unlike on the rap dominated NOLOVEDEEPWEB MC Ride’s vocals consist mostly of vocal loops and screams. This vocal style gives a very instrumental feel to songs like “This Is Violence Now”, “Bootleg”, or “Feels Like a Wheel”. While this isn’t usually a bad thing, there were definitely moments where I could have used some sweet Ride verses laid on top of the beats. Album highlight, “Im Overflow” is a good example of this with its heavy instrumental verses that features a thick beat under synths that sound as if they went through the washer. It’s almost as if Ride heard how rad the song sounded and just wanted to sit back in listen instead of rhyme in between the song’s chorus’s.
Even with some of these critiques, fans of Death grips’ past work won’t be disappointed. The album delivers from start to finish, throwing curveball after curveball at the listener while simultaneously being their most linear album.
Reviewed by Jay Dilick