Album review: Death Grips' 'The Money Store'
As crude as Sacramento’s Death Grips can be — and make no mistake, the trio, as the sadomasochistic cover art foretells, is crude — it views aggression with a wide-angle digital lens. Rather than a bullet, “You’ll catch a jpeg to the head” vocalist-shouter-rapper MC Ride threatens in “Hacker,” a paranoid slice of techno-warfare in which Zach Hill’s worldly beats are manipulated to sound like machine-gun fire.
“The Money Store” is one of two planned albums for 2012, and despite coming affixed with a corporate brand, its sound is one born in a garage. This is punk rock with a hip-hop face-lift, and the merger here is equally trippy (“Get Got”) and noisily belligerent (“System Blower”). MC Ride is direct and muffled, as if hollering through a wrestling mask, and Hill and producer Flatlander create a scattershot, low-fi landscape. The hisses and buzzes of “Lost Boys” turn the sound of loose electrical wires into grooves, and “The Fever (Aye Aye)” layers hypnotic electronics under a furious rhythmic panic attack.
“Blackjack” fashions a song out of what sounds like looped surveillance tape, and more fun is “I’ve Seen Footage,” which marries images of newsreel trauma with a “Push It”-like bounce. Death Grips parties in an anxious and frenzied space.
“The Money Store”
Three stars (Out of four)
— Todd Martens
Image: MC Ride. Credit: Jonny Magowan