So yes, I'm a bit late on this one, considering the album came out in 2008 and they've released a follow-up album since (which seems far more average to me). But fuck it, I've just listened to the album on Spotify and decided to buy it, so why not talk about it.
DIOYY? are an English band that straddles the boundaries of electro and rock, sounding like a more muscly incarnation of Digitalism. The music is very raw, and has a distinct live sound. Its this that gives the album such impact, everything feels very real and honest (even when using layers of synthesizers and vocoders).
"Battle Royale" sets the tone for the album, with various distorted noises layered over a Justice-esque drum beat before launching into a riff of syncopated stabs of synth. The guitar solo at the mid point of the track adds a suggestion of the rock music yet to come, before launching back into the typically mid-noughties punchiness. Following this is a personal favourite of mine, "With A Heavy Heart (I Regret To Inform You)," in my mind the heaviest song on the album. The song features an intense vocal performance from frontman James Rushent, some very chunky bass guitar, and absolutely shitloads of distortion. The aggression literally pours from the track as it seems to run out of control, the rising "Oh God!"s building the tension to the sort of instrumental chorus that makes you want to riot. It's one of my favourite "lose-your-shit" songs.
"We Are Rockstars" was the making of DIOYY?, the one that got them big and that actually drew me to them. Distinctively French in its sound, the song is something like a robotics experiment gone wrong, everything very synthetic and yet sounding very organic at the same time. It's still a great track. Then comes "Dawn of the Dead," the first of the more melodic pieces on the album, and its yet another winner. The casual nature of the vocals brings a great deal of honesty to the song, and the layers upon layers of sounds make it a very rich song to listen to, with the reverb-filled clap and backing "Oo, Aa" on the chorus sounding particularly cool to me. This is followed by another melodic track, but "Doomed Now" has a suitably darker tone. This song would be average. But the vocoder is nothing but superb, its strained sound lifting the song well above what it might have been.
Kicking off the second half of the album is the quirkiest of interludes, the awesomely named "Attack of the 60ft Lesbian Octopus." Taking influence from the sort of music you expect from a Scooby Doo chase sequence, the organ sounds and intense speed seem on the one hand ridiculous, but on the other immensely cool. This is followed by the far more conventional indie club tune "Let's Make Out", featuring some great vocals from Death From Above 1979's Sebastien Granger centered around the shouting of the song's wonderfully youthful and reckless title. This is combined with the same sort of sassy aggro we were introduced to at the outset of the record. Definitely one that get's stuck in your head... let's make out, let's make out, let's make out...
"Being Bad Feels Pretty Good" is one of the weaker songs on the record, but is by no means a bad song. Some of the nicest sang vocals on the album are layered over brighter, sparklier synths. The chorus is the highlight, the harmony of the various parts resulting in a really nice, unconventional yet conventionally indie sound. This is followed by "Weird Science," the most dance-y track of the album. The strange melody has grown on me considerably, and the tones of the synthesizers used are excellently varied, all chunky and glitchy. Much like "Let's Make Out," it displays the band's funkier side, and really wants you to just have fun. And lastly we have "Epic Last Song." A slight disappointment, I think 'epic' is an overstatement. But DIOYY?'s knack for good choruses shines through again, and the song still manages to be good, just not as downright amazing as some of the of the other tracks on the album.
In summary, it's just an all-round great album. It's got a great deal of edge, and really makes you want to move in some shape or fashion. Even without a 'break' from the intense sound, it's wonderfully varied and plays with the notion of electro-rock in every possible way. It may not be a ground-breaking sound, but it's a wonderful one that feels just like home to me. A total winner.