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Death Grips - Government Plates Album Cover

Death Grips - Government Plates

Reviewed by
8.5
Death Grips - Government Plates
Release Date: November 13, 2013
Record Label: Self-Released
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Although people can speculate about publicity stunts all they want, I have a hard time believing that Death Grips are carefully calculating their every move. This band isn't one to dwell on something and carefully weigh the pros and cons before taking action; they just do what their gut tells them to. That comes through in both the way they operate and in their music. So far they've released three projects (two of them were for free), and they signed to a major label after their first mixtape before releasing their debut album and leaking their second studio album on their own, resulting in Epic dropping them. And now here they are again with their third studio album and fourth project overall, Government Plates, which they released for free a couple weeks ago out of nowhere.

With every stunt they pull, Death Grips walk the line of gimmick and sincerity, but every time their music affirms the notion that all of this is not an act. Government Plates is a logical progression of the Death Grips sound, honing in on the loudness of NO LOVE DEEP WEB and the layered composition of The Money Store. So its not as bare bones as NLDW, but it's every bit as in-your-face and aggressive as you would expect from a Death Grips record.

Frontman MC Ride has always been impossible to pin down because of how hard it is to make out what he's saying. The only thing you really get from his lyrics and vocals on a surface level is that he is very, very angry. Under more scrutiny, it's easy to see that feelings of paranoia, anxiety, and restlessness are always bubbling up to the surface and exploding as fiery outbursts. He kicks off the record on “You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for its your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat” shouting out “Get so fuckin' dark in here” and other menacing, borderline unintelligible lines before the beat drops into one of the most explosive and relentless songs in their discography. The abrupt twists and turns throughout the track play perfectly into the idea that these guys are acting on instinct through and through. Even when things find a groove on the beginning of “Anne Bonny,” it quickly turns into a heavy and uneasy affair with little warning.

Zach Hill and Flatlander create the perfect backdrop for MC Ride's erratic vocal performances with punishing drums and stuttering electronic manipulations that can never seem to sit still. The presence of a live acoustic drum kit is felt on tracks like “Birds” and gives the songs a bigger sense of space than other Death Grips records have, and the layers upon layers of vocal manipulations, ugly synth noises, and percussive instruments on tracks like “I'm Overflow” suggest that these guys, though spontaneous and abrasive, are very much masters of their craft. There are songs that take a more bare bones approach at times to be certain, like “Big House” which has one of the quietest MC Ride verses of the album, but even that song opens up with a suffocating wall of bass and synthesizer.

All of this builds up to the final track “What I Want (Fuck who's watching),” one of the most forceful songs these guys have ever made. It opens up with glitchy electronics and ominous bass before kicking into the grooviest dance track they've done since The Money Store's "Hacker.” But the upbeat groove quickly mutates into a long and slow comedown of white noise, percussion, and MC Ride's voice warping around it all. And then it kicks back into the groove before being brought back down. By the time you've settled with and become comfortable with one aspect of it, it quickly turns around and shakes up your expectations. It perfectly sums up Government Plates and Death Grips' career up to this point as a whole. They've released four projects in the last two and a half years and three of them were for free. This group is doing things that few other people in music are doing at a higher quality than most would expect, keeping people anticipating their next move every step of the way. The funny thing is that absolutely nobody knows what's coming next; not even them.

8.5/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 19
07:09 PM on 11/24/13
#2
phaynes1
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I love this record. The opener is one of the most immediately enticing tracks from this year.

Good review bud.
01:19 AM on 11/25/13
#3
OFWGKTA
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Great album. Great review!
01:32 AM on 11/25/13
#4
Chris Collum
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Great review man. I like the album, more like a 7 for me though. It kinda loses steam in the middle and I still really just don't like "Birds." "Fuck Who's Watching" is one of their best tracks ever though.
06:42 AM on 11/25/13
#5
Ryan Dennehy
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Fuck yr idols

Suck my dick
06:56 AM on 11/25/13
#6
_><_
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Definitely my least favourite Death Grips project so far.
07:10 AM on 11/25/13
#7
Spencer Control
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I feel like a lot of people write Death Grips off, but man, are they good.
09:31 AM on 11/25/13
#8
alexxxisonfire
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This band has an almost impossible learning/listening curve but once it's been broken in, they're fantastic.
01:04 PM on 11/25/13
#9
j4callen
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Epic is a disaster anyway. Probably for the best.
01:39 PM on 11/25/13
Jake Jenkins
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I love this record. The opener is one of the most immediately enticing tracks from this year.

Good review bud.

thanks pal!


Great album. Great review!

thank you!

Great review man. I like the album, more like a 7 for me though. It kinda loses steam in the middle and I still really just don't like "Birds." "Fuck Who's Watching" is one of their best tracks ever though.

ty!!!! fair enough, but i think "im overflow" to the end is near perfect, "bootleg" is just kinda eh for me. and i love the hell out of birds, such a fucking odd song
01:39 PM on 11/25/13
Jake Jenkins
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This band has an almost impossible learning/listening curve but once it's been broken in, they're fantastic.
very, very true
03:35 PM on 11/25/13
brook183
Leave the lunchmeat for the sharks
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Still gotta listen to this
10:22 PM on 11/25/13
Archael
listens to good music
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not used to these kinds of reviews anymore, not really my flavor at all but I can dig it.

can't stand this band tho.
10:37 PM on 11/25/13
newfoundmichael
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getgetgetgetgotgotgotgot
03:49 PM on 11/26/13
StepsInADance
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birds is fucking wild. first album from them i really enjoyed since exmilitary.

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