Album review: DZ Deathrays – Positive Rising: Part 2
While not entirely a thing of the past, concept albums are fewer and further between these days than they used to be. Unless you’re Australian dance-punk noiseniks DZ Deathrays, that is. In that case, you don’t make just one concept album, you make two.
As its title suggests, Positive Rising: Part 2 is the follow-up to 2019’s Positive Rising: Part 1, and is a darker, moodier counterpart to that record – something reflected in the cover’s nighttime reinterpretation of Part 1’s artwork. That first part was recorded in Los Angeles, thousands of miles away from the trio’s native Australia. This one was recorded in a post-COVID world at home in Brisbane, although there’s still a post-apocalyptic, kind of extra-terrestrial concept that runs through it. The best example of this is probably the title and final track, a dark and moody sludge-noise behemoth that sounds like a comet hurtling towards the Earth in slow-motion and which, when it hits, will obliterate the anxiety of modern living that captured in the ten songs that precede it.
The hyped-up adrenaline of Fear The Anchor is riddled with the most neurosis, but the scuzzy, chugging guitars of All Or Nothing, the searing, scorching histrionics (and, yes, riffs) of instrumental Riff City and the up-tempo, menacing tune of Make Yourself Mad – an explosive warning against the damaging effects of an increasingly divided (and divisive) news media – all ripple with that 21st century ennui.
It’s not all political despair, though. The rambunctious Golden Retriever is about being heartbroken – even if it doesn’t sound like it – while the gargantuan riffs of penultimate song Run The Red are the perfect soundtrack to the existential paranoia we should all be feeling. If you’re not, one listen to this rip-roaring, thunderous record will likely change that. Hopefully, it’ll also help revive the art of the concept album.
Tawny is out on July 9 via Alcopop!.