Album Review: Die! Die! Die! – SWIM

In the canon of bands with exclamation marks in their name, Die! Die! Die! stand proudly at the forefront. They’re Kiwis, but strangely enough, they’re more toxic, alluring and immediate than the majority of bands in both Hemispheres. So, don’t hold their 2nd best country in Oceania origin status against them. Yeah, I managed to stick in a completely unnecessary and cliche jibe about how Australia is better than New Zealand. ‘Straya!

Anyway, back to more ‘SWIM’, their fifth ‘album’ (pulverisation of the senses is a much more apt term) Die! Die! Die! couldn’t have earned their right to their triple exclamation marks. Unlike acts like Panic! At the Disco, 3OH!3 and The Go! Team, Die! Die! Die! actually implement a very real sense of dangerous urgency to their music that marks their music as unmistakeable. When frontman Andrew Wilson’s barks ring out over crunching, knifing guitars, it becomes apparent very quickly that you are about to witness some extraordinary music.

Over their 10+ career in choons, Die! Die! Die! have put out some interesting albums that span from ragers, to blood-boilers, to snarlers and post-punk loomers. On ‘SWIM’, they pull all their old tricks into one gorgeous orgy of sound. There are the hitz, which could be staples of the ultra cool underground parties, and then there are songs which go to a different, subterranean level; bone-gnawing, white knuckle rides that speak to the lonely kid with earphones strapped around their ears on a Saturday night.

For the latter example, take the fucking excellent track “Crystal”, which opens with a confused maelstrom of guitar and doom-laden drums, as Wilson’s alternate between a depressed calmness, and a narrow sharpness as rough as the lyrics in the chorus. For the loners and losers out there, this kind of mourner-turned-triumphant song is exactly the kind of thing that makes the hands clench up and want to do something. It’s a call to arms, the kind of thing that Die! Die! Die! excel at (see: “Trinity”, “Sideways Here We Come”).

That kind of empathetic and understanding vein is continued in messy guitar tracks “Jelosy”, and “Mirror”. But it’s not all furrowed brows and wishful thinking, as there’s plenty of the explosive virtuosity that Die! Die! Die! are renown for. “Get Hit” detonates with a chorus that is begging for wail your arms around to, with the trio snapping into pure, focused and unrivalled energy, and creating the perfect track to start ‘seeing red’ to. “She’s Clear” rails against the greatest piece of shit society has known, hypocrites, pairing lyrics about transparency with devilish bass. Or “Sister”, which is a deafening racket that pounds against the ears like being tied to an amplifier playing Wolf Eyes at the loudest volume possible.

You know that phrase, that you can’t judge a book by its cover? Well, in the case of ‘SWIM’, the album cover depicts the contents precisely. Alone, in a bleak environment – cold, harsh elements railing against you. But nonetheless, there’s a power that radiates from beneath the hoodie, beaten and worn, but promising to come back even stronger. If ever there was a perfect visual metaphor for Die! Die! Die!’s consistently formidable output, surely this would be it.

In their careers, Die! Die! Die! have always been impressive. But on ‘SWIM’, the band pull together a cohesiveness, and broad musical and lyrical expertise, unleashing some of the best music to grace the ears of those looking for more out of punk than three chords and a shout. A damn fine album, even if it comes from New Zealand. ZING!

Get annihilated with Die! Die! Die!, when they play their third Sydney show this year at Goodgod, on the 12th of September!

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