Release Date: Nov 12, 2013
Record label: Last Gang Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Power Pop
Coming along five years after his solo debut, former (and current) Death from Above 1979 member Sebastien Grainger's second solo album ramps up the energy and delivers on the power promise he so dramatically displayed the first time around. 2013's Yours to Discover is a bursting-at-the-seams blast of fevered rock & roll that starts off rocking like a small-scale hurricane and rarely lets up. Adding a tightly wound new wave element to the already tight power pop sound he nailed on Sebastien Grainger & the Mountains, Grainger packs the songs here with choppy guitars, sparkling synths, and slashing drums to come up with something not too dissimilar to Peter Bjorn and John, only more power-packed.
As previously mentioned, Death From Above 1979 co-founder Sebastien Grainger and his wife recently left Toronto, taking up residence in Los Angeles. Yours To Discover, his second solo LP, finds Grainger embracing his new locale with casual grace, drenching the album in a comfortable hypnotic haze that is less furious than any of his previous work. Yours To Discover progresses well, shifting from one benevolent, electronically-influenced pop ditty to the next, only stumbling on the late night, overtly groovy tracks such as "Let's Move To NYC" and "I Want Sebastien Grainger," which feel limited in scope and don't gel with the endless opportunities that abound on the record.
From ‘You’re A Girl, I’m A Machine’ to “Nobody’s got the down payment, down payment”. It’s amazing how what you scream about alters with age and experience. Sebastien Grainger, better known as the drummer and singer in Death From Above 1979, has moved on and is now tackling a more mature set of problems. For a song (The Streets Are Still A Mess) at least, Grainger not only empathises with first time buyers but also ponders the lot of the city planner.
From the shirtless cover image to the use of Ontario's provincial slogan, it's clear that Sebastien Grainger isn't taking himself too seriously on his new solo LP. Intrinsically associated with Toronto's music scene - through his music as one half of dance-punk duo Death From Above 1979 and various other collabs - Grainger recently relocated to Los Angeles with his wife, and Yours To Discover sees him exploring these new horizons. It might be his most overtly pop record to date, but there's plenty of crunch here to satisfy long-time fans.
Sebastien Grainger: pop singer. Who would’ve thought? It sounds unlikely, until you carefully revisit the artist’s output up to this point. That reevaluation reveals that Grainger has always been partial to a good hook, whether in his solo output or with Death From Above 1979. It’s just that he tended to bury it under layers of distorted chaos.
The Death From Above 1979 reunion is on ice for now, so it’s only right that the band’s 34-year-old singer and drummer Sebastian Grainger keeps releasing solo material. He’s got things to say, and these things are mostly: I’m horny, I’m getting old, I drink too much. So on the sleazy Michael Jackson of ‘Your Body Works’ we get “Oh let’s go to bed now, and let our bodies do the work, I know what’s coming over you”; the acoustic Crystal Castles of ‘I’m Looking For A Hand’ is all “Hair is getting grey and it’s thinning, maybe”; and the Strokes-gone-disco ‘Waking Up Dead’ asks: “Did I say something wrong last night? I dunno, I was wasted”.
It’s always difficult to establish a solo career in the shadow of your previous band if it was short-lived, intensely loved and went out in peak form. But over the past decade, Sebastian Grainger’s had it easier than most in that unenviable position. As the drummer/vocalist in Death From Above 1979, he basically did one thing—searing, noise-pop breakup songs where he and bassist Jessie F.
Among the many regrets that a person may accumulate throughout their lifetime, to have never seen a Death From Above 1979 live show must surely feature. With a solitary EP and an album that barely crossed the thirty minute mark to their name, Torontonian duo Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler soon laid around their pedal-drenched, drums-and-bass dance punk the foundations of a cultish hype.