“So much for blue skies! What about the future?” Thus New Zealand’s young punks, Die! Die! Die!, fling exhortations back at a preacher who’s told them, “You must believe!” They aren’t really asking, but they also aren’t echoing Johnny Rotten, that cunning London Irish drop-out, caterwauling “No-o-o/Fu-u-t-yahh” in a faux-cockney parody of a muezzin calling the faithful to prayer a quarter-century before 9/11. No, it’s not quite the same, because outrages and disasters do take their places in the landscape. So even Die! Die! Die!, with their shrieky little name and shrieky little songs (tattooed in ears by the phonograph needles of Andrew Wilson’s voice and guitar), find themselves pausing long enough to explain, quite reasonably, “Well sir, this winter, I cannot believe.” “Blue Skies” is the last song on Die! Die! Die!’s second album, Promises, Promises. Last year’s Steve Albini–recorded, self-titled debut’s flying shards of impulsive/compulsive encounters were caught by walls thrown up, of tracks tightened till they imploded (10 songs, in just over 20 minutes). But now, on the Shayne Carter–produced Promises, walls are pushed out as inner space-junk expands; shards reappear as pieces of Wilson’s personal blue skies, of old hopes and dreams. Shattered, scattered voice and guitar can’t help planting some bizarre memory garden of l-u-v. But the eloquent guts of Lachlan Anderson’s bass will never digest such seeds so easily, and drummer Michael Prain’s Keith Moon-style soloing-as-accompaniment dents craters in an everyday maze, where Wilson and “You!” grapple in reflective gear.
Die! Die! Die! play the Music Hall of Williamsburg March 29 and Highline Ballroom March 30.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 26, 2008