Another groundbreaking addition to Death Grips' unrivaled discography.
Death Grips have the ability to reverse me. When I first sat down to review Bottomless Pit, I tore it to shreds. Now, with a couple more (hundred) listens in the bank, it might as well be the only thing on my iPod.
I don’t know why I’m surprised. It’s the same with every single one of their releases: I hear it, I’m confused, then I’m disappointed; I hate it, but I keep listening to it, for some reason. And then the reason becomes clear: I was wrong and it is genius. I don’t know if that’s the best praise I could give – if you keep listening to it you’ll like it – but it’s true. Death Grips projects are fetal growers.
The whole album is organised chaos, save a slinky rap track (‘Eh’) and half of first leak, ‘80808’. As soon as Clementine Creevy stops giving people bad ideas the trio (or quartet if we’re going to make Nick Reinhart an official friendo) hit like a freight train running on blast beats, and don’t stop running stations until you hit stop, because if you haven’t got this thing on loop, you need assistance.
While it’s all good, great, fucking great stuff, I have my favorites. Well, I can give you today’s favorites. They’ll be different tomorrow. They’ll be different the day after. That’s the thing with this band- everything they make is so dense and packed with innovative sonics and esoteric lyricism that there’s always something new to hear and engage with.
But yeah, favorites. ‘Eh’ is a fuck-worm. ‘Bubbles’ is the face-melter. ‘Trash’ is a gem disguised as a migraine, and sees Ride at his best since his taxi-driving days on Hunger Games- “Extra bump this shit is sex, decrepit sex shit”. ‘Three Bedrooms’? You get a hook, and you, and you! It’s hook central. It’s a hook fire sale. The first thing I said when I heard ‘80808’ during the leak was, “Man, this is filthy”. ‘80808’ is raw and confident, and has my line of the album: “Acquire this link, it’s a ringer/Cop my steeze make yours much fresher”.
I have my criticisms, though. Nothing’s perfect, and Bottomless Pit is no exception. ‘Warping’ is heavier than infinite mass, but it doesn’t go anywhere. ‘Ring a Bell’ is kind of a Nine Inch Nails rip-off, but at least it’s not actually them. ‘Bottomless Pit’ is just a bit of a nothing track. Same goes for ‘Houdini’ and ‘BB Poison’. They’re the ones I skip. And I suppose that says something.
Ultimately, the biggest problem with the album is Morin’s production. Over the course of the band’s last two-and-a-half releases, it’s become increasingly amateurish. Too much Ableton; too much reverb, too smooth, too much layering. The band have lost the blown-out, unmastered mixing that made tracks like ‘Punk Weight’ and ‘Come Up and Get Me’ what they were. Death Grips are punk, plain and simple, but I feel like Morin is jeopardising that trashy aesthetic. Just look at the electro-revamp he gave ‘Hot Head’ for the album. What is that bass doing there? I’m not trying to knock Morin; quite the contrary. He was the one that brought the sound and feel that made me love Death Grips in the first place. While I am saying that he’s the problem, I’m also saying that he’s the solution. Ride’s flows are next-level and gleefully abstruse; Zach Hill’s drumming is the primal masterclass it’s always been. But Morin has the ability to push Death Grips even further. If you can imagine a place past where they are now.
Despite some stumbles, Bottomless Pit is great. It’s another stellar addition to an already galactic discography, whose diversity is unrivaled by anyone new, anyone now. Before he floated off into space, Bowie put his stamp of approval on this band, and it’s not hard to see why- if you give them a chance. They’re not going to be appreciated this time around. But in fifty years’ time everyone and their mother will be citing them as an influence. I just hope that the band know that, because they deserve to.
Bottomless Pit is out now via Third Worlds.