Where 2014 was seeing releases from Run The Jewels and Flying Lotus, The Death Set was able to fly fairly under the radar with their own levels of experimentation. Separating the lines of attacking on mainframes and production from a synth-punk approach, The Death Set on King Babies is engaging and interesting at every turn.
While the EP is only four tracks and around eight minutes, King Babies has enough of a change in each track that the record feels more complete as a project than a package of quick snacks.
“Lite The Fuse” is the first introduction to the record and while the builds and breakdowns are the first thing to notice, The Death Set layers most of their instrumentation to crush each other instead of giving room to digest. “Lite The Fuse” is essentially a squash of a mix where the authentic drums strike over the electronic percussion and together create this symbiotic feast for sonics.
The group effort of vocals sung together also creates multiple voices that jump over each other in a clash for the microphone. Being release number 500 for record label Dim Mak, The Death Set are able to strike fast and be more of a positive effect for live energy that transposes the record format.
“Think Shank” immediately sparks to the mind for being a breakneck jump into crowd work with these almost unrelenting amounts of percussion in a one-two step fashion as strings and synths pound overhead.
Describing through distortion and clipping shouts, “Late night’s insomnia forgiven, think shank that’s just how we choose to live it. Cats and dogs on film we find efficient, days lost to this it makes no difference.”
For each track just barely reaching into two minutes on average, King Babies can feel like a lifetime for being trapped in this loop where The Death Set is more based on emotional draw than any technicality on playstyles. From their images where bass and guitars are thrown into the crowd, amps are used as footstools, and percussion sets become launch pads; King Babies reflects that power in sound.
The final track, “The Enemy” is actually the more simple in approach and is a stomping mess of shouts displayed over chugging guitar notes. Lyrically, The Death Set opens more doors than they close. They illustrate, “Pull it all apart, the noise and vents. Evacuate everything that doesn’t make sense. Homebound, no sound, forced out, living like an animal zoo tamed let out.”
Those final moments for The Death Set create one last approach of sonic vertebration, one last defense before succumbing to an exploding finale of builds into fireworks. Only eight minutes in stature, The Death Set is special on King Babies without ever losing that intriguing factor to performance.