The band and title have only two words, but tons of attitude. Thatâ€™s about the essence of New Zealandâ€™s post-punk Die! Die! Die!â€™s new release, â€œPromises, Promises,â€ which had an â€™07 release date overseas but is just coming stateside, courtesy of S.A.F. Records. Every song is about the same on this record: You start with a frenetic drum beat that overpowers everything. Itâ€™s so powerful, you might swear thereâ€™s more than one set of skins here. Then, you add undermodulated, strained vocals doing combat with the unrelenting poundingâ€”fighting to be heard above the fray. Throughout, add a guitar that seems to be a percussion instrument, hammering out nothing but riffs. At times, itâ€™s almost frustrating because Andrew Wilson
is clearly a talented guitaristâ€”he forces some of the oddest, most unique sounds out of itâ€”but he rarely gets a chance to shine through. His best track is probably the title cut, where his guitar alternates between crying like a siren and pumping like a fist. But as good as the axe-work is, it just canâ€™t compete with Michael Prainâ€™s drum set. And I know thereâ€™s a bass in there somewhere, too, but it is often consumed in the mix. When it does bump itâ€™s way to the top, though, itâ€™s clear that Lachlan Andersonâ€™s is as skilled as everyone else here.
Donâ€™t get me wrong: This is not a negative review. A true punk band should create a wall of energy, and Die! Die! Die! accomplish that to great effect. That they are all able at times to step aside and let each other dominate is a testament to how well the band gels. This is vital, raw, D.I.Y. music by masters of their craft. Most post-punk is either overproduced to until it becomes sterile dance music (Franz Ferdinand) or underproduced so that it seems to cover flaws in the songwriting (Black Lips): None of that is true here. Die! Die! Die! strike the perfect balance between careful craft and dangerous unpredictability. Highly, highly, most highly recommended.