By Charles Louis Dominguez ’14
Death Grips – “Government Plates”
6.5 out of 10
I’m a die-hard Death Grips fan.
I fell in love with their music freshman year and have been following them fervently ever since.
Naturally, when they surprised fans by randomly releasing their fourth full-length album “Government Plates” for free download Nov. 13, I was elated.
On my first listen to their new album, I decided that Death Grips are everything Kanye West claims to be.
With the release of “Government Plates” they have more fully realized what this past summer’s “Yeezus” attempted.
“Government Plates” is an aesthetically dark album with no pretension and little to no marketability.
Following the release of “Yeezus,” Kanye West boasted about having no advertising campaign or radio single to back his album.
In contrast, after months of inactivity, Death Grips simply released their album for free via their Facebook page.
This isn’t new behavior for the group.
The band leaked their last album, 2012’s “NO LOVE DEEP WEB,” against the knowledge of the label they were signed to at the time.
Following this incident, they established their own label, Third Worlds.
At this point, it’s shockingly clear that Death Grips only make music for themselves.
Sonically, “Government Plates” finds Death Grips at their most experimental yet. It’s a forward-thinking album that spares no ears of its pure energy.
“Anne Bonny,” the album’s second track, is one of the best things I’ve ever heard from the group. The beat has a complete shift about a fourth of the way in that’s incredibly interesting to listen to.
Other tracks like “Birds”—the only track released before the whole album—have incredibly spacious backing beats and go off on incredibly vivid tangents.
At its best, “Government Plates” is incredibly ambitious and rewarding.
Unfortunately, while “Government Plates” finds the group exploring new territory, it doesn’t always go over favorably.
At its worst, tracks like “This is Violence Now” and “Feels Like a Wheel” come across as raucous noise and don’t seem to add much to the album as a whole.
Death Grips are definitely innovators—this album is proof of that.
However, despite its originality, this is the most inconsistent Death Grips have ever been.
I’ll be listening to their releases in the future, but I’ll also be hoping that their experimentation has a more obvious sense of direction.