I'm intrigued to know who's behind the album blurbs on iTunes and Apple Music. Most releases arrive with a lengthy description of a band's trajectory, and a detailed synopsis of the album in question's sound; Die Die Die's sixth album Charm. Offensive, however, arrives with just one sentence: "More cathartic noise-pop goodness from the Dunedin trio".
It's correct, but such a brief statement doesn't quite do this album justice. Charm. Offensive is indeed a return to form for Die Die Die - but it's perhaps their most seamless and confident record to date. The band's trademark white-noise guitars and erratic drums are back on form, and there's a dynamic rhythm in the song structures and their order that gives the album an engaging depth.
Singer Andrew Wilson's elastic vocals are drenched in a lush reverb, excessively applied in the best way; it adds a post-punk futurism that balances the more traditional arrangements, which pay homage to the histories of punk and alternative rock (genres which Die Die Die themselves are entrenched in the local history of). They're able to look forward and backward at the same time; on the dense For Melody, Wilson gets self-referential: "It's the obligatory song about electricity". There's a thrilling energy running through a number of songs, but it's when Die Die Die take a deep dive into shoegaze that they truly hit excellence. Still Echos is a slow-burning triumph of eerie guitars and shuffling drums, while Caterpillar is an ambient abstraction of fuzzy beach-rock that samples ocean waves and seagull cries. The songs make the album a ready soundtrack for both dingy bars and ocean beaches - a perfect blend for Die Die Die, and a worthy offering ahead of their first Laneway slot in January.
Die! Die! Die!, Charm. Offensive
Die! Die! Die!
Banished From The Universe
The fuzzier the better on Kiwi rockers' sixth album