Sebastien Grainger, better known as the singer and drummer for dance-punk duo Death From Above 1979, has moved on to a solo effort while ex-DFA 1979-partner, Jesse Keeler, forges ahead as 1/2 of MSTRKRFT.
Sebastien’s first solo release definitely takes a slightly different direction than the intense vocal effects and distorted bass-guitar riffs predominantly heard from DFA 1979. Some moves he made were for the better…and some not so much. He still dives into washed-out amplified vocals on “Niagara” and “Love Can Be So Mean” could have been and earlier DFA song, re-visited with added melodies. “Renegade Silence” is similar to DFA but with a lot more soul and funk. Tracks such as “Who do We Care For” show improved song structure and have definite potential for major alternative radio air play. “I Hate My Friends” pushes a little too close to early 80’s commercial rock and seems to nip at the toes of the likes of REO Speedwagon. Sebastien has dropped a lot of electronic elements found in DFA and has opted for slower ballot style tracks like “(Are There) Ways to Come Home” and “Love is Not a Contest.” All-in-all Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains is a solid release for a solo artist stepping away from his previous persona. It does lack the fun, electro-rock party anthems that hooked me on DFA 1979, but Sebastien has grown as an artist and forges into new territory with more complex vocal variations and smart, although somewhat commercial, song structure and melodies.