Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains – s/t

Outside Music

Death From Above 1979 used to effortlessly exude sexy danger with every beat. So why can’t any of the duo’s post-DFA projects muster more than a disinterested yawn? First bassist Jesse F. Keeler’s MSTRCRFT failed to deliver on its promise of uniting pure dance music with the grit of rock. Now singer and drummer Sebastien Grainger’s new band mines the same vaguely ’80s-inspired ground as The Killers. It’s catchy sure but it disappoints next to his former outfit’s fury.

The closest Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains come to Grainger’s past glory is a purely throwaway moment in the outro to “I’m All Rage (Live ’05)” — Grainger regains some of his former cocksure swagger as he vamps on about a rabbit’s paw. “Renegade Silence” is in the right ballpark using a strutting synth and falsetto vocals to great effect but the rest of the album steers clear of any such inspiration. Opener “Love Can Be So Mean” does alright with its Killers-aping four-on-the-floor approach but the modulated synth that opens “American Names” is too close to Stars for comfort. There aren’t any out-and-out duds (well maybe “Love is Not a Contest”) but there’s an overwhelming sense that Grainger’s playing it safe — something you could never say about Death From Above.