New Zealand’s Die! Die! Die! has a thing for emphatic Chk Chk Chk (!!!) punctuation—the name, more exclamation points in three song titles—which is funny since they’ve got the sort of hair-trigger punk theory that requires basically zero overselling. Their self-titled debut is all bulbous ribs and threadbare tenacity and clocks in at just less than 28 minutes, every one of them gutted by songs that shimmer like skeletal bonfires. I ate it up like hardcore candy. Twenty more songs and I still would have begged for more.
It’s a heated, ripped-up, silly, fantastic party record. It may not move in mysterious ways, but it’s all right. Trip-wired with punk contortions, songs like “Franz” and “Shyness Will Get You Nowhere” nevertheless break the right direction toward guarded but zealous pop mechanism. With its banging in-out shuffle and Andrew Wilson’s repetitive screech “what you say goes, what you say goes,” “Franz” sounds for all the world like Joy Division’s “Digital.” “Shyness” in its initial moments spikes itself with gleaming pieces of chime-like guitar that recall the keyboard effect on the Strokes’ 12:51—not that it stays there long, the drums keep up a needle-sharp stomp and the chorus is a frenzied, full-throated guitar assault.
Parenthetically, the full title of “Franz” is “Franz (17 Die! Die! Die! Fans Can’t Be Wrong).” There are also tracks called “Like 48th Street Maybe?”, the opener, which is one minute long and may or may not be about GPS Girl, who’s never exactly sure where she is (there’s no way to tell, since it’s 98 percent drums and there are no lyrics, but humor me); “Year Nine, Yeah!”; and “Ashtray! Ashtray!”, in which Wilson actually yells “Ashtray! Ashtray!” On “Auckland Is Burning,” meanwhile, Wilson assures us he’s only funnin’: “I never tell the truth.” Easy come…
Minor Threat – Out Of Step
Neon Blonde – Chandeliers In The Savannah
Electric Six – Fire