Review by Andrew Barry
On their recently released third full length album ‘Form” Die! Die! Die! has created possibly their best record to date, and one of immense scope.
“Form” is their first album on Flying Nun Records, and it is a fitting new beginning for the heartily welcomed back, and revitalized label, one for whom terms such as seminal and legendary, only really scratch the surface in a time where they are thrown about with such comfort by many.
On “Form” Die! Die! Die! remains the same, uncompromising and challenging band who gave us their self-titled debut in 2005 and 2007’s excellent Shayne Carter produced “Promises, Promises”. Yet, they have stretched themselves into different musical places, and sonic colours. This is an album which while still evoking the post-punk influences which drive the 3-piece, reaches for new territory, and while remaining a beast of an LP, it is a melodic, beautiful beast.
Perhaps most importantly, this is an album in the original sense of the word, like the songs themselves, there’s no fat on these bones- at just under 40 minutes running time, there is not a weak track here, nor many moments of let up. If the band aren’t at one point, startlingly inventive within the traditional framework of the 3 piece post rock and roll band, then they are at the next returning to thrash elements of their past.
However “Form”, while providing an accessibility (if that isn’t considered a dirty word) for new listeners to discover the band, is not a sea change which should worry long-term fans. It is an album of contrast, and one where the band, rather than bludgeon the listener with their music, lure them in with swirling textures, and melodies emerging from what on previous records may have been impenetrable walls of sound.
Frontman Andrew Wilson, while, this reviewer doesn’t wish to discount the meritorious efforts of Michael Prain (Drums), and Lachlan Anderson (Bass) is the star throughout “Form” both in his angered, yet yearning vocals, and his guitar playing- which is often at the front of the mix, be it with swathes of noise or with his jangly, yet jagged riffs which bump up against the rhythm section in a memorable way.
Across the album, stand out tracks abound. Worthy of note is the opening “Caseman” which lays down the manifesto in style, for what is to follow, the pairing of b.Net hits “How Ye” and “We Built Our Own Oppressors” and a personal favorite, “Daze” which dips its toes into shoegaze territory, and features the superb military beat drumming of Prain throughout.
“Form” evokes many other artists, the likes of My Bloody Valentine in general, on “Paquin” the warped pop of Wavves or on “Wastelands” The Mint Chicks; however it is a triumph of Die! Die! Die!’s skill and ability that these influences and others morph into something very much their own.
This is a band at an exciting stage of their career, and these new songs deserve to be heard on a larger stage – their recent and upcoming big ticket support slots for such forebears as the Pixies and Peter Hook are testament to this. On the back of an outstanding record, the chance to see Die! Die! Die! at Lyttelton’s tiny, El Santo Porteno on December 17th is a veritable treat, where their huge sonic nature and trademark live electricity will be on show in a unique venue.
‘Wasted Lands’ is currently on the Starlifter Radio playlist.
Buy ‘Die! Die! Die!’ – ‘Form’ on MP3 – CD – Vinyl