Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Death - "Politicians In My Eyes"

From Dusted Reviews:

Death - "Politicians In My Eyes" (...For the Whole World to See)

Every time a reissue of a remarkable, lost record comes out, it’s difficult to resist the temptation to compile an amazed laundry-list of bands it mysteriously prefigures. Death’s …For the Whole World to See provokes such a response. Some licks sound like Husker Du. Some quivery vocals evoke H.R. of Bad Brains.

But better, perhaps, to view Death’s seven-song oeuvre as the logical bridging of a lacuna rather than a before-its-time aberration. Of course it makes sense that, in mid-’70s Detroit, three black brothers (Dannis, Bobby and David Hackney) might have gotten as into the Stooges and MC5 as into Funkadelic, that they might have synthesized the sounds of FM rock radio just as their white peers ransacked soul and funk. The Hackneys released a single, recorded and shelved an album, and then moved to Vermont with their family. They morphed into a reggae band. Time passed. The EP slowly acquired a cult record-collector following. Tapes were unearthed, and here we are.

Death’s music falls somewhere between ’70s hard rock and the more stripped-down, straightforward garage rock one might deem proto-punk. Obviously influenced by Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, most of their songs span multiple parts and time signatures. “Let the World Turn” even features a drum solo. With the exception of that song, a reverby slow-jam, the album stays uptempo. It’s replete with wonderful, memorable moments, like “Freakin’ Out,” which mixes a classic-sounding garage riff with an unexpected chorus that sharply repeats the title phrase over a snare beat. “Rock-N-Roll Victim” avoids hard-rock cliché by augmenting the drums with handclaps.

There’s not a bad song in the bunch, but the songs from Death’s only official release are the clear highlights on …For the Whole World to See. “Keep On Knocking” is a simple, catchy rock song that gets all the elements right, particularly Bobby Hackney’s urgent vocals and David’s spot-on guitar solo. “Politicians In My Eyes,” the EP’s A-side, is masterful. Form meets content as Bobby alternately spits out and wails lyrics decrying hypocritical politicians. David’s guitars and Dannis’ drums, similarly, sound angry, accusatory. Fiercely energetic, it sounds so rooted in such a particular time and place that it has a kind of canonical familiarity, like something that’s been played on the radio for years.

By Talya Cooper



  1. Nice write up here:

  2. Someone hipped me to this album last week. Ran across the CD today. Happened to find this blog tonight. Thank you for getting this released. This is one of the best albums released this year (35 years late even!)

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  4. Thank you all so much for your comments and support. Great resource for educators as well!


  5. Amazing site. Wasn't sure where else to send this to, but:

    Greetings. My name is Silas, and I run a media-related site named He Of The House.

    One of my writers and close friends recently wrote a short spotlight on the release of Death's "...For The Whole World to See".

    I just thought I'd pass that along. If you'd like to post it anywhere, you are more than welcome to as long as the original link back to our site remains intact and the writer's name is included.

  6. i am always happy with tears to hear pioneers ..for i am a pioneer myself...Silver Surfering Rudeboy from URBAN DANCE SQUADand now in PHANTOM FOUR AND THE ARGUIDO(album out in Europe in March 2012 on ICE SCREAM RECORDS)


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