A quick fix from Dischord vets
By Mark Jenkins
Friday, March 15, 2013
There are only seven songs on Deathfix’s self-titled debut, but they encompass more than that many styles. “Playboy” is a samba-tinged pop-rocker; “Hospital,” a glam-rock brooder; and “Transmission,” a nine-minute prog-rock pilgrimage, complete with jazzy saxophone climax. And then there’s “Dali’s House,” a tribute to LCD Soundsystem that’s either charming or tiresome, depending on how much the listener wants to revisit that band’s mix of dance-rock and talking blues.
Deathfix includes three stalwarts of Dischord, D.C.’s flagship punk label: Brendan Canty, best known as Fugazi’s drummer, and Devin Ocampo and Mark Cisneros, both members of Medications. But the dominant sensibility seems to come from Rich Morel, a local electro-rock performer and producer who is Bob Mould’s partner in the “Blowoff” DJ nights. (Morel and Canty have toured together in Mould’s band.)
Both Canty and Morel are accomplished producers, which explains why “Deathfix” is the glossiest item in Dischord’s catalogue. It’s also the label’s poppiest album since two High Back Chairs releases two decades ago, with lavish backing vocals featured on most of the tracks. So far, the authoritative production and skillful performances are more cogent than the band’s sense of style. But this album maps ample routes toward Deathfix’s future.