HEALTH – Death Magic (2015)
Death Magic is at once peculiar and wholly expected. Their first album in six years, HEALTH have decided to trade in their searing guitars and deafening drums for a mostly digital framework steeped in dance and pop music. While this digital reinvention is a sound one on paper, the end results are surprisingly dated and flaccid. Drowning in pulsating EDM synths and revelling in obnoxious hedonism and casual nihilism, Death Magic sounds about a decade too late. Rather than provide a compelling case for their transition, HEALTH perform self-sabotage, bringing their signature disembodied vocals to the forefront and settling for a swath of cold, middle-of-the-road dance numbers; by focusing principally on the album’s dance-floor burners, the band have essentially reduced their noisier, arguably more interesting elements to brief stopgaps between the percussive raves. While it’s easy to see a glimmer of a good idea amongst the hodgepodge of nauseatingly “edgy” rave music and occasionally cringe-worthy debauchery (see “LIFE”) on display, the fact remains that Death Magic just isn’t very memorable. Like its lyrics, it’s pure surface-level theatrics.
Trial Track: “NEW COKE”