Sympathetic Stupid

Monday, February 06, 2006

Die! Die! Die!: Die! Die! Die!

Die! Die! Die! have got a lot of street cred for three kids from New Zealand. This album, following and expanding upon last year's EP, was recorded with Steve Albini in Chicago. Yeah, the guy who recorded the second-best albums of both The Pixies and Nirvana, as well as great albums by Low (Things We Lost In The Fire), McLusky (The Difference Between You And Me Is That I'm Not On Fire) and The Breeders (Title TK). He's been to all the best parties.

The EP was fuzzy lo-fi, an energetic, pissed-off six songs packed into about 14 minutes. The LP, post-Albini, is little longer at 22 minutes, with ten tracks including the best three from the EP. The real differences, unsurprisingly, are in recording quality, extra clarity in the guitar crunch and drum sounds, but most of all in the angry, half-shouted vocals.

The tradeoff is that it lacks some of the appealing crudity of the EP - noticeable in the direct comparisons. The big "I don't trust you" in Shyness Will Get You Nowhere, for instance, was a cracked-voice scream, and is now just a controlled shout. And then there's the bouncy Franz-esque disco breakdown at the end of Auckland Is Burning. The tom-driven rocker is still a highlight, but this outro does seem a bit incongruous.

But it's all their great anger-driven speed rock; more than a touch of punk sentiment without setting foot near the emo cliff.