The Death Set are a two piece band apparently from Baltimore and they fall into the broad category of "electroclash". They make spastically energetic music out of drum machines, samples, distorted guitar, and screaming vocals. It's catchy, angry, and fun all at the same time. I happen to enjoy this sort of thing, but then again i still listen to Black Flag records, so i appreciate the energy that anger can give to music. Others might not be so impressed, i suppose. Especially if your primary focus in music is a poetical turn of phrase and a hook-y melody. Not so much of that stuff going on here.
This is actually the second release of this EP. Apparently, The Death Set made a bunch of them and sold them at shows, then signed up with the Rabbitfoot label (which i suppose is lucky for them), and re-released it. At any rate, this is my first exposure to the band. There are 7 songs here in just under 13 minutes. Let's briefly examine each.
The To EP starts off with a heavily distorted voice saying "I can't hear shit!" And then a drum machine kicks in for Paranoia. This song is completed by some heavily distorted vocals, a happy keyboard riff, and some crunchy Ramones-esque guitaring. Very fun.
The second song is called Negative Thinking, and a vocodered voice repeats that phrase over and over. Join that with some organy keys and a frenetic drum machine riff, and you have another fun tune.
Track three is called Intermission, and is new to the Rabbitfoot release of the EP. This is the band's theme song, with the voice screaming "It's the mother-fucking Death Set!" over and over during the chorus. The keys and drum machine here are the most synthpoppish on the EP, pointing towards an interesting future for the band.
On Distressed, the guitarist turns in his best licks. He plays a fast,
high-pitched strumming that reminds me of Keith Levine's work in early PiL.
The drum machine also spits out a beat worthy of Topper Headon on this tune.
This is a fun punk song with angry distorted voice and silly keys.
Up next is Boys and Girls. The beat here is an old 4/4 thing, all thudding drums and staccato guitar riffs, except on the chorus where everything stutters like the tape is stuck. The voice here is hard to make out, because it is so heavily distorted. In fact, the layering on this song is weird. The drum machine is the most audible thing, then the guitar, then the voice. Odd, but not bad.
The Death Set use an old school industrial clattering drum machine riff on Ohh
Snap!. This song is filled out with strange keyboard drones and atonal
singing. It ends with some screaming and a nice guitar riff.
Finally, The Death Set end their debut with a great song called Around the World. This is a truly wonderful tune that is over far too fast in just under 2:19. The guitar plays a great bass riff almost worthy of Peter Hook himself, and two voices sing harmony in a manner that reminds me of the early work of The Poster Children. Simply catchy, frenetic, and very very fun.
This is definitely an enjoyable little EP. The music is crazy, but very catchy. The Death Set mention on their website that they are recording a full-length. I wonder if they can keep up this energy for an entire album? Personally, i hope that they can.