I’ll start this with a necessary preface (and accompanying admission): I’ve never really been all that invested in Death Grips’ music. At their very best, I viewed them with reserved admiration. I’d crack wise about how I just assumed every site that I was unable to access due to a 404 error was probably just a re-direct to Death Grips’ official website. I grew frustrated with some of their more questionable antics. Now, the trio’s gone ahead and released one of the most jaw-dropping songs of their career. Eschewing their characteristically frenetic tendencies for an aim that’s more direct than they’ve ever been, “On GP” finds them reaching unthinkable heights.
Zach Hill finally gets a proper showcase for his enviable talents behind the kit, MC Ride (Stefan Burnett) goes off on what might be the finest lyric copy of his impressive career, post-punk guitars surge out of the speakers and the rest of the music, which comes off as a hyper-adrenalized version of Fucked Up colliding with early Iceage, follows suit. It’s split apart like a miniature suite, with the aggressively taut sections ceding to sporadic ambient instrumentals- courtesy of producer Andy Morin, in what’s his best contribution to Death Grips to date- that lend the proceedings an air of occasional (admittedly eerie) calm before the bands resumes their normative delirious wrecking crew state. Lyrically, it’s an incisive self-examination that’s unafraid of peering outwards. On the song’s most charged moment, Ride tackles his inner demons in what may go down as 2015’s most striking verse, ending it with a wry “It’s been a pleasure, Stefan.” By the time “On GP” cuts itself off abruptly, it’s landed an impressive array of blows, each furious volley more punishing than the last.
“On GP” is a part of the long-gestating The Powers That B double album, with the second half- Jenny Death (of which “On GP” is included)- due out next week. It’s purportedly the last record that anyone will ever be hearing from the group and if “On GP” is any indication, Death Grips are going out as defiant- and as pissed off- as possible.
Watch the video for “On GP’, which is nothing more than a static frame shot of the band in the echo chamber of Sunset Sound Recorders’ Studio 1, below.