Mess And Noise Reviews Die! Die! Die! Album
Five albums in, Die! Die! Die! are at their best when they’re angry, writes KRYSTAL MAYNARD.
In an age where the focus is predominantly on the shiny and new, longevity and stamina often go unrewarded. Rather than being treated as masters of their crafts, there can be a tendency to dismiss bands who have been playing for years as old news. Bringing 'Swim' to the table, it’s likely that Dunedin band Die! Die! Die! have been faced with similar sentiments at some point.
However, the three-piece present a brusque and leathery exterior that suggests they don’t give a rats. With five albums down, long stints of touring and numerous labels and line-up changes, Die! Die! Die! are clearly in it for the long haul – and for all the right reasons.
Title track ‘Swim’ and follower "Out Of Mind" make for a robust start to the album: potent and pummeling. Track three, ‘Crystal’, is earnest in nature, but the indulgent reflection is offset by the biting refrain in the chorus. "Best" displays the reverse dynamic, softer vocals adding vital texture to break up the intensity of singer Andrew Wilson’s unrelenting attack. This duality in the vocals is key to preventing the band from descending into a sound that’s excessively emotional.
Lyrically, things get pretty passive and pondering on "Don’t Try" but remain musically crushing. "Angel" is the only noticeably weak moment on 'Swim'; as the insipid title would suggest, the song offers little in substance. "She’s Clear" starts off with some solid riffage not dissimilar to early ’90s bands like Mudhoney, then moves into an indie pop chorus that’s a reminder of what good ’90s hooks sound like. "Trigger" is quirky, angular and made for the dancefloor, tipping its hat to bands like Les Savy Fav. "Sister" is filled with underlying menace, its spiky guitar work propelling it along. A suitable closer to the album, "Mirror" is melodic noise-rock that brims with contemplative nostalgia.
After nine years and five albums, we know what Die! Die! Die! are capable of. Their sound developed from the explosive, visceral noise-punk delivered on their self-titled debut (2006) when melody crept in on Promises, Promises (2008), and the band gradually incorporated everything from indie, post-hardcore, dance-rock, post-punk and shoegaze on the next two albums to follow. Die! Die! Die! have always had the knack for creating dynamic music driven by tension, and on their latest effort they retain that ability.
On 'Swim', DieI Die! Die! explore a plethora of moods, but they’re at their best when they’re angry. Melancholia might set in often, but the moments the band stop to contemplate life in the corner are contrasted by bouts of vicious rage, which involve trashing the house and getting the police called on them.
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