Die! Die! Die! – Promises, Promises

Die! Die! Die!
Promises, Promises

Youthful exuberance, teenage angst, darkness behind the curtains – “A.T.T.I.T.U.D.E.” – the embodiment of punk. The definition of punk can become messy of you try to build past the basic essence, the spirit. Punk was not about simplistic three-chord blues, sped up to a maniacal pace, punk was not about safety pins through your ears and nose or really the antics of the paparazzi puppets (hence Sid Vicious). Andy Warhol was a punk. He was pure DIY aesthete – and look at his art, a blatant F.U. to the consumer and the critic, simultaneously through the simplification of a human aspect – greed. But, Andy Warhol is not who’s at hand, neither are the bands who might get name dropped in reference to the band at hand – alright, I will indulge myself: Wire’s loose guitar, Violent Femme’s loose production (god, how I eat it up every time I hear this sound pulled off), and every punk/(post-)hardcore band’s youthful swagger all make up part of Promises, Promises by Die! Die! Die!.

How do they do it? This is not their debut, Die! Die! Die! had a self-titled album prior to Promises, Promises but it sounds so amateur in a wonderful way. Promises, Promises sounds like Die! Die! Die! had a few drinks, loosened up a bit, casually walked into the studio, grabbed some instruments, did what they came to do, and back to the bar they go. The production sounds so tinny that they seem to be screaming from their house down the street, locked in their room. With every listen, the album becomes more intense; starting off simplistic and in-your-face. Typical punk. Give it some room to breath, take some steps back, let time take its course, then come back. The sounds of guitars being murdered, screeching and howling on “Blue Skies,” lying just behind the questioning of “What about the future? So much for blue skies. What about the future?!” The infectious, simplistic drumming on “Blinding” is about as hard for me to forget as the girl who is the subject of the song. The droning rhythm guitar and lead guitar freak-out on “Britomart Sunset,” pushes Promises, Promises past your typical punk expectations.

Promises, Promises is a lot more mature than you would think; every drum roll, high hat clink, feedback frenzy, and unpolished, seemingly unintentional noise is actually the intentional and highly calculated. The stop-start post-hardcore sound achieved by Die! Die! Die! can not just be thrown together, it takes a dedicated band with a lot of touring and practice. Punk is only derivative and simplistic on the surface. Art-punk, post-punk, hardcore, alternative, slap whatever label you would like on it; I’ll stick to youthful, captivating, raw, and memorable as my descriptors.