The Glitch Mob Love Death Immortality on 2LP + Download
"If our last album was introverted, then the new one is definitely extroverted ," Justin Boreta explains of one of 2014's most anticipated electronic-music albums: The Glitch Mob's Love Death Immortality. Boreta represents one -third of The Glitch Mob's core members, alongside Ed Ma (aka edIT) and Joshua Mayer (aka Ooah). Together, this supergroup trio of instrumentalist/producers have in Love Death Immortality created the ideal follow-up to their 2010 debut full-length LP, Drink The Sea. In the wake of the success of Drink The Sea and its 2011 follow-up EP We Can Make The World Stop, the group propelled to the upper echelon of dance-music touring acts. It was their experiences on the road that led to the bold, inviting approach infusing The Glitch Mob's new material. "Drink The Sea was a personal, introspective, headphone-listening experience, whereas we wanted our second album to be a record made to be played live," Ma notes.
Despite its fresh approaches, Love Death Immortality remains pure Glitch Mob in its essence. That's clear from the album's first single, "Can't Kill Us" – which combines loping, 75 bpm breakbeat crunch and a speaker-shredding bass throb with rock swagger. "‘Can't Kill Us' represents the classic Glitch Mob style," Mayer says. "Of all the new songs, it's the connective tissue to our earlier material." "It's the perfect bridge from our past to now," Boreta adds. "You can tell it's still us, but it prepares you for what's about to happen." Other signature touches include the use of live instruments – from the distorted guitar feedback that launches the album's epic opening statement "Mind of a Beast" ("Just pure attitude," says Ma) to the floating Rhodes keys percolating through the coda of the soaring, cinematic "Skytoucher." "Using real guitars, pianos, and horns humanizes things a bit," Ma says. "Texturally, it's what makes what we do trademark Glitch Mob – a nice juxtaposition to the face-melt aggression."
The signature instrumental motif of Love Death Immortality ultimately proves to be what Ma calls the "glory lead": bold, screaming synth lines that generate infectious hooks straightaway. "The majority of the songs have this keyboard – created melody right upfront in the mix," Ma says. "They create an element you want to hum and sing straight away." Where Love Death Immortality really breaks ground, though, is its embrace from jump of rhythms and tempos new to the Glitch Mob sonic arsenal. As such, "Mind of a Beast" erupts from a surprising 140 bpm drum-and-bass break into a slamming half – beat grind. "The song does a total 180," Mayer says. "Right off the bat, that strong contrast let's the listener know not to get too comfortable." Elsewhere, tracks like "Skullclub" – which Ma calls "our ode to Daft Punk," with its pulsing sidechained synths and vocoders – and "Carry The Sun," experiment with 4/4 cadences; meanwhile, "I Need My Memory Back" and "Fly By Night Only" incorporate fully mirror-balled disco funk. "‘Yacht Sex' was actually the working title for ‘Fly By Night Only' – that's kind of the vibe," notes Boreta of the song featuring seductive vocals from upcoming artist Yaarrohs. "We wanted to explore something a little more fun and soulful amidst all the serious intensity. Contrasting that with something more sexy keeps everything from going full testosterone."
That balance is clear from the album's featured vocal collaborators, all of whom are female – a decidedly purposeful choice. "When the music gets really aggressive, that injection of female sensibility provides a crucial balance," Ma says. "Becoming Harmonious," for example, flaunts the eerie tones of Bay Area avant-darkwave chanteuse Metal Mother. "She's got the whole weird, Oakland Goth-psych thing on lockdown," Ma says. "What she did on that song is both evil and angelic at the same time; it plays with your head." Album closer "Beauty of the Unhidden Heart," meanwhile, forges connective tissue to the vintage downtempo feel of Drink The Sea favorite "Between Two Points," highlighting the dreamy, ethereal voice of Terra Lopez of Pitchfork favorites Sister Crayon. The most significant collaboration on Love Death Immortality, though, comes from Aja Volkman of L.A./Las Vegas rockers Nico Vega, who appears on both the alluring dancefloor filler "I Need My Memory Back" and the driving uptempo anthem "Our Demons" (for which she recorded initial vocals on the tour bus while Nico Vega was on the road opening for her husband Dan Reynolds' band, Imagine Dragons). "Aja's singing is so raw, gritty, and powerful," says Ma. "She doesn't have a traditional EDM voice, which we loved."