In a miraculous revival from a four-year silence, The Glitch Mob have unleashed their second LP, an appropriately titled Love Death Immortality. The dark, mysterious trio established a distinctively haunting and resonating signature sound with release of their first 10-track album, Drink the Sea, and retained an exceptionally impassioned fan base along with it. “We’ve realized how much this music means to people,” Justin Boreta, one third of the Mob, began in a recent interview with Billboard. “This is about people using music and community as a way to get through life.”
Love Death Immortality embodies the same namesake spirit of The Glitch Mob – packed with impossibly intricate soundscapes intertwined within strong influences of punk rock energy – but embeds four years worth of growth and evolution for the trio. Most notably, the introduction of vocalist Aja Volkman, wife of Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds and singer for Los Angeles-based Nico Vega, who assisted the trio in fabricating narratives for tracks like “Our Demons” and “I Need My Memory Back.” In comparison to the Mob’s previous Drink the Sea, which shied away from vocal spotlights save for “Between Two Points,” LDI inevitably exudes a newfound sense of direction with the introduction of storylines and an array of complex, heavily layered tracks.
Whether you’re new to the Glitch Mob club or a long-time fan reawakened by news of the rockstars of electronic’s return to the headlines, read on Love Death Immortality‘s standout hits and an album review.
To properly set the tone for what’s to come, Love Death Immortality starts off with “Mind of a Beast,” a track as subtly fierce as the title suggests. With a heavy nod to The Glitch Mob’s Nine Inch Nails influences, a ripping guitar chord instantly strikes a tone of drama alongside a rapid drum line beat. A shrieking electronica melody flirts up and down before the trio’s signature glitchstep interlude takes the intro tune into it’s final blaring measures.
Already, LDI radiates a surging energy that soars beyond the experimental tones of Drink the Sea. Aja Volkman’s first contribution on the LP, “Our Demons,” commences with an underlying hummingbird beat interlaced underneath a delicate, springing chord jump. Volkman’s scratching vocals stab through the track’s serene introduction to remind listeners of the immense building progressions to come. Surprisingly, despite her stated heavy hand in contributing to the Mob’s latest songs, the Nico Vega vocalist acts merely as an accessory to the explosive technical work that carries “Our Demons,” along with the rest of Love Death Immortality, continually higher and further.
The unabashed and obvious heavy-hitter of the album is “Skullclub,” a tune that wastes no time in blasting forward. “We are the wild ones,” a diabolical vocal sample rumbles before quite literally rocketing into a jolting dub-influenced mixture of glitch hop and electro synth jumps. Surprisingly, as the track’s stormy bass breakdown settles, traces of piano melodies and a short interlude are momentarily re-introduced with a echoing drip of chord work.
LDI‘s debut single was “Can’t Kill Us,” a perfectly chosen blend of The Glitch Mob’s redefined sound. The trio are not called ‘rockstars’ for nothing, and they again proved the worthy of the title with the thick rock and metal influences of the standout single. As opposed to most electronic acts, the group has stayed true to their roots, keeping the sound and product of The Glitch Mob a raw, and unfiltered type of music. “Can’t Kill Us” exemplifies the impact of the group’s decision to create their own computerized instruments and, in turn, focus on performing live shows rather than DJ sets.
Aja Volkman reappears on the album for “I Need My Memory Back,” which takes the album in yet another genre turn. The upbeat, funky step of the song introduces yet another tempo change as the less dub-focused tune channels an indie rock feel alongside a smoother edit of Volkman’s vocal chorus. Two and some minutes into “I Need My Memory Back,” an unexpected progression breakdown leads into a military drum line interlude that prepares listeners for the final squealing synth jabs of the collaborative track.
As their sophomore effort comes to a close, The Glitch Mob showcases their mastery of two opposite ends of the spectrum. “Carry the Sun” dives back into the group’s titular soundscape with a ‘back-to-basics’ glitch step song. Hints of electro power punch fuel the album’s second to last tune into a frenzied energy. The tune stays true to the Mob’s signature sound but could easily translate to different arenas and audiences with its synth twists, lifts and falls.
Finally, the 10-track album finishes with the surprisingly velvety understated vocals from Sister Crayon. “Beauty of the Unhidden Heart” is a song that reads as poignant and melodic as the title suggests; unique from the rest of the album, but fitting as the final narrative bookending to the latest installment of The Glitch Mob book. Traces of electronica glitch work are scattered throughout plucking harmonies and Sister Crayon’s haunting lyrics as a final conclusion to Love Death Immortality.
There’s no denying that four years makes a tremendous difference on music: Take a look at the past few months of electronic dance music history and you’ll see the fleeting attention span of fans and listeners of the modern day. For long-time fans of The Glitch Mob, Love Death Immortality serves as a dark, definitive tale with a evident beginning, middle, and end, much different than the group’s previous Drink the Sea. The Glitch Mob’s raw, unrefined roots still shine through each and every standout track. Though hints of experimental play are scattered throughout the album’s 10 originals, listeners should expect to hear tracks that reflect serious foresight and planning – represented through deep layers of complex chord progressions and melody builds with, of course, a hint of the signature glitch step sound.
Love Death Immortality is out now on Glass Air Records.