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Three years is long time in the music industry. Even more so if that's the time it takes your band to forge their 'difficult second album'. For Does it Offend You Yeah?, the band whose 2008 debut impressed indie, dance and electro house fans with a relentless succession of ear-busting rave tunes, the release of their second album can't help but seem...well...a bit too late. But would Don't Say We Didn't Warn You be worth the wait?
The album's soft introduction may initially throw fans off course, with its lightly strummed acoustic riff wrapped around whispered vocals. Then the trademark sound kicks in: the main tune drops in with ferocity, blasting your ear-drums with great synth sounds which become increasingly layered as the song goes on. Only a brief return to the tune's intro vocals stems the onslaught, making the return of the drums and beats all the more impressive. To call We Are The Dead a great tune is an understatement: it lulls you in then blows you away in a brilliant start to the album. This relentless loudness is sustained as the album moves onto John Hurt. A suspenseful electronic beat plays along to a soft drumbeat while the once-again-soft vocals slowly build up: then the crescendo blows you away. Reminiscent of Muse's Origin of Symmetry days, the chorus blares out an intriguingly layered sound, whose furious vocals complement the heavy beats to weave into a song with a measured tempo but frequent tone shifts. The end is arguably the best part, where Rushent's psychotic chant pulls you into the song's final wall of sound. This is where DIOYY plied their trade in 2008, and the more refined, louder sound suits the band well to round off a storming entrance to the album.
Song three changes the tone completely, with a drummed intro working into softer lyrics for a much more accessible song with more indie overtones than the electronic/dance style the band are known for. Nevertheless, the harmonic vocals on Pull Out My Insides offer a great twist in the album with the chorus making this a real treat which fuses the two different styles to good effect. The next effort Yeah! Reverts back to the band's roots, with a light drumming tune building up to an electronic onslaught where the beats drop with great speed beside a strong bass-line. The song can throw you at first, with its almost discordant whirring tunes like nothing you have heard before. But by the last third, you are left in awe of the song's layering; a brief relapse to a suspenseful tune bursts into life in an expression of high tones which can only be described as mind-blowing.
The Monkeys Are Coming changes the rules of the game once again, featuring samples from an internet meme where a man does indeed proclaim 'the funky monkeys is coming' to a group of dumbfounded skateboarders. If the song matter seems bizarre, then listen to the song, which can be best described as a medley of strange vocals and blaring electronic notes. Though the beats deliver, especially by the end whereby the tune has layered impeccably, the song doesn't hit you as hard as the earlier efforts and results in as strange an experience as the event which spawned it. It's lucky then that DIOYY innovate again for Wrong Time Wrong Planet, a blissfully simple yet mesmerising song. The smooth drumbeats accompany a simple riff, complementing Rushent's hypnotic vocals to draw you into another impressive offering. A chorus of sorts sees chanted humming drive into a faster drumbeat, weaving into a brilliant electronic crescendo which evokes the space scene seen on the album art. The song moves from the band's trademark style almost completely, but this makes for a great addition to the album.
In arguably the best song on the album, the band goes all-out rave, with a brilliant sample of former ECW chairman Paul Heyman psyching up his wrestlers weaving into the tour de force which is Wrestler. Bursting into life after a rolled drumbeat, the tune is both incredibly loud and fast, with frequent drops back into the original sample offering little respite from the powerful sound-offensive. This is DIOYY going back to basics, with an electronic tune of epic proportions balancing deep beats with a great sample. After a seamless transition into song eight, the band's next innovation is revealed with grime rapper Trip offering a great diversion from the band's electro/dance norm. Wondering is still driven by whirring beats but it's the stunning rap which steals the limelight. The smart lyrics and the sharp delivery see Trip rage against everything from war to advertising with great panache, while the chorus is simply psychotic, drawing you into a trance of sorts which weaves into the cuica fuelled finale. Sure, it's uncharacteristic but it's a novel and unexpected hit on the album. The Knife offers yet another great shift in the album's tone, with a perfect mix of high-tempo beats and great harmonic lyrics. The tune is one of the album's more conventional ones, but its gradual layering as the song wears on makes this no problem. A choral infusion in the last third of the song is a highlight, merging soft sounds with the loudness of the rest of the album. Overall, the impressive chorus and layered beats wrap around tight vocals for another strong offering.
In a strangely fitting end to the album, Broken Arms rounds the record off in the complete opposite way to how it started. The tune replaces big beats for soft strumming and understated vocals to make for a musical experience echoing the styles of The Vines and Jet. The song fails to pick up immediately with the tempo so much slower than the earlier songs, while the movement from the earlier walls of sound to such a subtle tune may confuse some. Regardless, give it time and it develops into a trance-inducing song with great depth and even better production.
Well, it may be three years late but the band has offered a stunning second offering. Louder, more mature (bar Monkeys), and more furious than before, the band excels in contrasting hypnotically soft vocals and winding intros with huge breakdowns and head-banging tunes. If one criticism can be levelled at the album, it's the lack of cohesion between the individual songs (an immensely loud tune here, electronic song there...) which stops you feeling a sense of progression in a complete play-through. Nevertheless, this format does allow the band to dabble in various genres, moving from efforts such as the grunge infused John Hurt, to the indie Pull Out My Insides and even showcasing grime in Wondering. Overall then, DIOYY's second offering comes highly recommended - treat your ears to the loudest album you're likely to hear this year.
If you download only three songs choose...
- We Are the Dead (free download off the official website)
- John Hurt