Sixtynine is the debut album from London-based electro-punk duo Deathline. With Jennie on bass and Kaoru on guitar and programming (they share vocals) they've got a distinctive eighties sound which takes in the likes of The Fall and The Jesus and Mary Chain as influences.
The combination of Jennie's singing style, which they say sounds a bit like "a punk rock Nico", and I can add that there's also a bit of Nicola Kuperus from Adult. in there too, the catchy garage-rock riffs and the various electronic elements (drums, background noises, squelchy bits) at once gives their sound the retro aspect while remaining firmly in 2009. A winning combo that leaves you feeling dirty, liberated and wholly satisfied.
Opening track 69 sets the scene, coming at you with no shortage of punk swagger. Heavy guitar riffs, tinny cymbal crashes and distorted background vocals abound! A whirlwind intro that lifts you up and starts running... and before you know it you're hit with the insistent bass guitar and Adult. undertones of Tesko Disko.
This pace continues with third track (and my album highlight) Lacka Lacka (Firecracka), sporting a kick ass riff and equally cool vocal refrain ("just another tale of a broken hard-on"). And talking about great riffs Kick Ass (by name and nature and sung by Kaoru) and 17 both present very hooky elements that marry a lo-fi sensibility with pop elements. Yes! Deathline are a lo-fi pop band!
Sure, Deathline write decent pop songs, but the one side of their music that I'd like to see explored more is the whole electronic element. It's almost expected these days to mash up and remix your output; create something new. How many times have we heard a guitar band given new light (and a wider audience) by a hot remix? A lot. So the closing track, a James Thomas remix of Region Hack, is testement to this; the drum'n'bass undercurrent breathes new life into the only weak track on the album. And in a similar fashion, the already excellent video for C'mon C'mon is given a new dimension in full mash-up glory.
9/10 | 13 listens