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Does It Offend You, Yeah?

by David King on March 16, 2011

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Naming a band Does It Offend You, Yeah? could lead people to think you take yourself very, very seriously. Fortunately/unfortunately, this is not actually the case with the members of Does it Offend You, Yeah? The band told NME that they decided to name themselves after the first thing they heard when they turned on the television. What they heard was Ricky Gervais on the British Office asking, “My drinking, does it offend you, yeah?”

A large portion of the band’s output feels like it is created in a similar fashion. Someone in the band says, “I’ve got this great beat and synth lead!” Another says, “I have this quiet acoustic ballad I’ve been working on,” and another says, “I just grabbed the stupidest fucking sample you have ever heard!” And then they smash it all together in one “song.”

To me, as a member of the video-game generation, this approach is very appealing at times. The formula pays off in spades on tracks like “Wrong Time Wrong Planet” and “John Hurt,” where lead singer, guitarist and synth player James Rushent balances simple indie riffs with his Damon Albarn moping vocals until synths explode in the chorus making for quite a glum party. But on opener “We Are the Dead,” Rushent’s compelling acoustic ballad, backed by a theremin, is ripped in half by lumbering techno breaks that go on and on. There is only a quarter of a song here—the rest feels like DJ filler.

You’ve probably heard the band or their work before, whether you know it or not. Their instrumental tracks have been perfect fodder for movie trailers, video games and the like. Rushent has produced numbers by Muse and helped Prodigy resurrect themselves (in England at least). DOFYY’s first album You Don’t Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into was built in a similar fashion to their latest, but it had some sugary sweet synthpop diddies like “Dawn of the Dead” and “Epic Last Song.” At their best the band sounded like a modern Happy Mondays on lots and lots of crack (more crack than the Mondays did back in the day), but on the new disc the band seem to be trying to find more of themselves between the instrumental techno tracks and absurd samples. If you need a good driving album, this is it—nothing deeper. Eventually, though, these guys might make an important record—or they might just keep fucking around.