Addled by a constant stream of invasive stimuli so shrewdly dubbed `popular culture,’ can you really blame the average American’s hopelessly short attention span? Products of our own environment we are, caught in a steady stream of flashing images that demand the consignment of our precious free moments, with nary a thought otherwise. Knowledge of this sadly transparent fact is the guiding prerogative of The Death Set.
Hailing from Baltimore, nesting grounds of other such misfits and musical schizos as Dan Deacon and Wilderness, founding members Johnny Sierra and Beau Velasco take full advantage of impatient consumer mindsets with a blistering dose of frenetic, fast-paced punk-rock. A collection of minute-long anthems (sometimes more, often less) for the disinterested and easily bored, Worldwide blazes boastfully through 18 tracks in a mere 25 minutes.
The thrust of these songs (which thrust plenty) is a rabid thirst for rapid catharsis by any means necessary. Take the vainglorious “MFDS,” a frightening forty seconds of Three-Six Mafia proportions, its vocoder voice shrouded in demonic haze, repeating in crass fashion, “motherfucking Death Set” over the throb of programmed drums. How this fits between the shuddering feedback fuzz of “Moving Forward” and restrained melody of “Had A Bird” (and is furthermore hilarious) is anyone’s guess, but it works. In many ways these snippets form a sound collage of various ideas, half-cooked though short they may be, functioning as a relentlessly shifting palate that enthralls to the last affected guitar scrape or electronics fizzle. Did I almost forget to mention how fun this album is? Fun! Really!
For all the shameless self-aggrandizement, The Death Set offers little in the way of pretension. Probably it helps that they don’t seem to take themselves that seriously. Sierra and Velasco’s wit sears (“A Day in the Wife”) and alternately philosophizes (“Peak Oil”), both in rather unexpected turns. But by the first line of “Negative Thinking” (“If I felt cynicism, I’d wrap it in a blanket of discontent, Fuck That!“) it’s obvious that this is not your typical adrenaline injected adventure in lo-fi for the Adderall crowd, Atari influenced though it may be. Still, it ought to keep them occupied, at least for 25 minutes.