The froth levels were ridiculously high when the recent news dropped that Mudvayne and Coal …
Remember: it’s for fun. A timely reminder for life in general, and also the percolating message at the core of Brisbane rockers DZ Deathrays’ sixth studio album R.I.F.F due out Friday 2 June.
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Enamouring recently with a refreshing change of sonic pace via the theatrical single King B as well as plenty of other rocked-up fare in the lead up, R.I.F.F as a whole is a fearless reflection of DZ Deathrays’ innovation and straight-up compelling grasp on who they are at their core. While in command of multiple ARIA Award wins and a horde of releases and acclaimed live shows, DZ Deathrays are not resting on any laurels in 2023, and the blend of old and new sonic identities with angsty sneers and ear-splitting arrangements is a dynamic experience from start to finish. It may be for fun, but there’s some serious bad-assery and calculated progression in the DZ Deathrays 2023 water.
Starting out with driving fuzz and apathetic glamour, Paranoid drills its way into your brain with its hazy charm and building tension, before Hope For The Best grabs Brit-pop swagger in a polished yet gritty manner. Complete with woozy vocals, sharpened riffs and moments of boisterous serenity, Hope For The Best leads into Tuff Luck; a brawny ditty complete with stomping beats, tongue-in-cheek, drawled vocals and prowling synths, and a testament to worshipping all things riff. Interspersed with interludes, R.I.F.F consistently delivers on its literal meaning throughout its creative journey, acronyms aside; case in point, the explosive Shadow Walk infectiously cleaves riffs and rollicking good times via a garage-ready punk gem that would readily sit alongside a Turnstile set. Meanwhile, the aforementioned experimental delight that is King B emerges, kicking off with a playful, stripped-back intro before evolving into a firepowered opus worthy of Queen in the Mad Max universe that traces its own origins back to a riff that led to multiple versions of the demo before reaching its final form.
R.I.F.F achieves the near-impossible as it wafts into the distance: a rock album unburdened by ego or genre pigeonholing, while still retaining an unmistakable creative thread.
Jaunting up the good times with some Queens of the Stone Age bounce set to Blur-adjacent arrangements, My Mind Is Eating Me Alive launches into R.I.F.F’s second half in sultry fashion, before tracks like Grounded Or Dead, Eat You Up, and Love & Destruction flex DZ Deathrays’ significant bolstering of their unique and increasingly beloved brand of noise rock, post punk and, for lack of a better blanket term, indie rock fused with a Britpop grin and beyond. Embracing influences across the board from Talking Heads, Bloc Party and FIDLAR to name a few on R.I.F.F, DZ Deathrays remain first and foremost a guitar-driven band on album #6 (in case you have been living under a rock since the band emerged with their debut album Bloodstreams in 2012). But from the creamy delights of Grounded Or Dead to the more cacophonous Eat You Up, DZ Deathrays are also equally a multi-faceted delight, and R.I.F.F is a continuing testament that a band can retain fun and softer moments alongside punked-up anarchy. And with a woozy and floating outro following the sharp stylings of its penultimate stomper of a track No Talk, R.I.F.F achieves the near-impossible as it wafts into the distance: a rock album unburdened by ego or genre pigeonholing, while still retaining an unmistakable creative thread.
For those who have grown up alongside DZ Deathrays and witnessed their meteoric ride to newcomers discovering DZ for the very first time, R.I.F.F will feel equally fresh and sentimental as the group relish in their roots while also astonishingly challenging their own creative confines over a decade on since forming as a band. The world may be a mess, but there’s still fun to be had, and DZ Deathrays deliver it in spades. A tactile and vivacious undertaking that makes you think while lashing you with oscillating punk and more modern textures, R.I.F.F is modern rock cooked to perfection.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Paranoid, Shadow Walk, King B
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