Today is a sad day. The obvious question is why? The Glitch Mob released their new album last week. This should be cause for joy. Except for the fact that it is no good.
The group that helped to found the ever expanding movement of heavy electronic dance music with their 2010 Drink The Sea has returned with Love Death Immortality — a sad departure from their work of four years ago. The story goes like this: The Glitch Mob, comprised of instrumentalists Justin Boretta, edIT, and Ooah, garnered praise in 2010 for their unique blend of stuttery sine waves and massive organic drums which pounded out an album of six-minute instrumental anthems marked with an incredible amount of badassery. And then the world took stock. And then the world tried to emulate it. And then dubstep happened.
But wait, it gets worse. Perhaps now would be a good time to stop reading if you don’t stomach tragedy well. Because the group that inspired so much modern heavy electronic dance music seems to have, in turn, been adversely affected by what they helped institute. Because Love Death Immortality is, and brace yourself here… a dubstep album.
Right from the first 20 seconds of the new record it becomes clear that the Mob has changed a number of aspects of their music. 1) The tone palate is completely different. Whereas Drink The Sea was a characteristically smooth record full of liquid synths with loads of sub-bass and organic war drums, Love Death Immortality opens (and pervasively features) a cluster of crunchy, amusical laser sounds that are about as appealing as sandpaper to the cochlea and electronic drums that sound like that of any standard dubstep. 2) There is no more empty space. On their first record, the Mob crafted music that was noteworthy not just for what was present, but also what wasn’t. The amount of openness on that record made the powerful, dense moments all the more effective. In contrast, Love Death Immortality is consistently a full musical plate lacking the requisite appetite. And 3) The unpredictability is gone. On Drink The Sea, themes would unfold in a moment-to-moment manner. Licks would pop up unexpectedly, and you’d crave their reappearance. It egged listeners on like good art should. On the new record, you know all too well when it’s going to drop. There’s a standard dubstep formula, and unfortunately it’s been applied here. Build build build BUILD BUILD… OMGDROP!! Repeat.
Precisely that repetition seems to have plum tuckered the music world out. Dubstep is dying. People are tired of it. So it is even more strange to see the Mob intentionally make a dubstep album. Not only have they main-streamlined their music, but they’ve also done so at the least opportune moment. The obvious question again is why? Unfortunately no clear answer arises.
To demonstrate exactly how lacking this album is in originality and how it pales in comparison to its predecessor, it doesn’t even warrant picking the songs apart. There are approximately 60 good seconds on “Becoming Harmonious” which shows signs of the Mob’s former self, but that’s it. On the whole the album falls flat, and falls hard. Listening to this record is now inadvisable, as it might bring you to tears, or rage, or a slew of negative bodily functions. Just don’t go there.
So far, Love Death Immortality is the most disappointing album of 2014. And the album art is stupid.