Release Date: Feb 9, 2010
Record label: Paper Bag
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop, Alternative
You Say Party! We Say Die!’s third album, 2010’s XXXX, refines and slicks up their nervy, exuberant new wave pop sound, adding some darker emotions and a more introspective lyrical approach. Fans of the rambunctiousness their first two records dealt out may be a bit disappointed at first by the more professional sound, the smoother production, and the general tightening up, but they can’t deny that the band has written a very strong batch of songs, maybe some of their best. Besides, people grow and change, why shouldn’t bands have the same opportunity? The trick is to grow without jettisoning the things that made you worth listening to in the first place.
It's a good thing You Say Party! We Say Die!-- the Canadian dance-punk quintet who had famously been barred from entering the United States for the past four years-- have finally gotten their visa problems worked out in time for the American release of their third LP, XXXX. Because, more than any point in their career, audiences will want to hear their new songs live. While other bands of their ilk petered out along with the intensity of the public's interest in dance-punk, YSP!WSD! have chugged along, touring tirelessly through Europe, and finally developing beyond the constraints of hi-hat 16th notes and wiry, stabbing guitar lines on a collection that encompasses both the gothic ambiance of Siouxsie and the Banshees and the tough-girl 1980s hooks of Pat Benatar.
I’ll let you in a on a little secret: the title of You Say Party! We Say Die!’s new album is actually Love. In fact, the album’s track list (i.e. “Make XXXX”) reads like a game of Mad Libs where the only acceptable word is “love”. As far as creative conceits go, it’s hardly inspired, but I’ll give them points for being cute.
Love's a four-letter word, so these British Columbians' third disc adores censorship. A pinging New Wave keyboard hook and Becky Ninkovic's crimson encounter with Cupid pierce hooky and haunted as Tears for Fears' "Mad World." Kate Bush leading Blondie 2.0, or Metric with fewer guitars and more melodrama? The Edge-y riffs prick a John Hughes prom-night montage in "Dark Days," which grooves bottom line rockist, while the complementary "Cosmic Wanship Avengers" flies ancient Devo beats that by song's end stick a quick-pick of keyboard rave. "Lonely's Lunch" beats a Morse code tattoo until a Phantom of the Opera break transforms it into a Concrete Blonde vampire bite.
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