Die! Die! Die!: Charm. Offensive.

-  Bless bands that don’t give up. Outside of places like the US, with the huge population to ‘support’ genuinely indie bands across ‘careers’, six albums seems almost like a ridiculous extravagance that no band could justify. Even if they could still lay claim to some late artistic inspiration, their first wave of fans would all be off working and raising families and they’d be left high and dry. Yet here we are Die! Die! Die!, here we are.

The Dunedin post-punk trio have proven to be surprisingly durable, across the years. After the treble-heavy, nasally nasty attack of the songs, arriving in dribbles, that would finally morph into their debut, self-titled record, they went into a serious sophomore record slump, not really recapturing that single-minded power; I thought that would be it. Not so! The band returned unexpectedly revitalised with their third full-length appearing on an equally surprisingly revitalised Kiwi institution, Flying Nun records.

Ever since then, each new record has felt like an increase in power and gravitas, each live performance has been full of unrelenting fury. I honestly don’t know how they keep amping it up. Even armed with the knowledge that they did, latest full-length, Charm. Offensive. kind of caught me off guard.

The thing which most impresses is the weight, the body of the sound. Die! Die! Die! started out as a bright, brittle, flinty post-punk band. Now they’re throwing around words like shoegaze and lo-fi. It turns out that those descriptors are surprisingly apropos. I really like the way the band themselves speak of it as “...the sound of a thousand different nights played out in dingy bars, ramshackle DIY venues, and decaying concert halls around the globe.”

I went back and re-listened to Die! Die! Die!’s last few records and discovered a continuum: this incredible volume of noise which has slowly but steadily been building up, release after release. A lot of it is purely production: taking that same post-punk band and drowning the sound in indistinctness. There’s also enough fuzz to make anyone from the likes of The Jesus Lizard to Metz quite content. As the record progresses too, there’s all sorts of experimental touches: samples, ambient soundscapes and enough experimental song-structure to yank them right out of post-punk and into the weirdo no-wave of a band like Sonic Youth.

For all that it’s a very self-indulgent affair, it’s also a surprisingly convincing one. There’s not a single song on Charm. Offensive. that bores, outstays its welcome. I come out the other side of Die! Die! Die!’s sixth full-length none-the-wiser how a band from little ol’ Dunedin sticks it out this long, but I am certain that for as long as they do, I will be around to listen.

- Chris Cobcroft.

Album Details

Album Title: Charm. Offensive.
Artist: Die! Die! Die!
Record Label: (Indie)