by Hipster Hamster Hipster Hamster
February 18, 2010

Full disclosure:

Two years ago, I walked out of a You Say Party! We Say Die! concert about halfway through.  They were grating, sloppy, and just weren’t doing it for me. I went into the show a non-fan and needless to say left unconverted.

Two weeks ago, I was scrambling to find Canadian content for my radio show, and noticed that You Say Party! We Say Die!’s newest album XXXX was on the playlist. Grudgingly, I headed to their MySpace to see if I could find a track I didn’t hate; I noticed a song called “Laura Palmer’s Prom.”  I was caught by the title (an homage to David Lynch’s surrealist masterpiece Twin Peaks) and gave it a listen. The song was dreamy and spacey—completely different from any You Say Party! We Say Die! song I had ever heard.  I played the song on my show for that reason specifically—it was completely different from the sound I expected (and disliked).

I thought that “Laura Palmer’s Prom” was an aberration, but upon repeated listenings of XXXX, it became clear that You Say Party! We Say Die! decided to emphasize the dance aspect of their dance-punk. Synthesizers and electronic beats rule the day here, and both Becky Ninkovic and Krista Loewen’s vocals are more sung than shouted.  Most of the songs are more likely to inspire a two-step—or at least the awkward-indie-shuffle—than a mosh pit, although there are a few hints of punk underneath XXXX’s sleek exterior.

“Cosmic Warship Avengers” and Glory” feature enough angular guitars and loud drums to satisfy any old fans looking for a connection to the band’s older work, while showing enough of the new style to act as a bridge of sorts.  By and large though, the songs are distinctly influenced by the likes of Depeche Mode and Duran Duran—pop tunes backed by big beats and drenched in synth.

It all works pretty well. Some of the songs drag a bit near the end, and the move towards a poppier sound might alienate some, but this is a fun bunch of songs that I would expect to translate well live.

Ok, one more point, if we’re really going for full disclosure:

I’m a sucker for polish—the shiny stuff, not the country (though I do love me some Poland)—and XXXX is shinier than MJ’s rhinestone glove. All of the songs are slick and sleek—fine-tuned to get fans out onto the dance floor—and the sound they’ve cultivated works. The band maintains just enough of an edge to keep the cheesy 80s vibe at bay, but mines the aforementioned decade for all of its best synth-rock moments. The result is an album that should appeal to fans both new and old: indie fans looking for something a little more aggressive, and punk fans looking to bust a move.

Choice Cuts: “Laura Palmer’s Prom”, “Lonely’s Lunch”, “There is XXXX (Within My Heart)”

1.  There Is XXXX (Within My Heart)
2.  Glory
3.  Dark Days
4.  Cosmic Warship Avengers
5.  Lonely’s Lunch
6.  Make XXXX
7.  Laura Palmer’s Prom
8.  She’s Spoken For
9. XXXX/Loyalty
10.  Heart of Gold

Bonus: “Laura Palmer’s Prom” (Los Campesinos Remix)

out of 5 weasels.

XXXX was released on Paper Bag Records, September 29, 2009 in Canada and February 9, 2010 in the United States.

Visit You Say Party! We Say Die! online: Channel (w/ tour journal)

“Dark Days” from the album XXXX. from Paper Bag Records on Vimeo.

“Glory” from the album XXXX. from Paper Bag Records on Vimeo.

“There is XXXX (Within My Heart)” by YSP! WSD! on Q TV

Never trust a hamster. Support the artist and find out for yourself. encourages purchasing XXXX locally at Red Cat Records in Vancouver, B.C, any independent record store of your choice or online here.


4 Responses to “Turncoat Turntable 011: You Say Party! We Say Die! – XXXX”

  1. [...] started writing for, which is a local punk website. My first review is up here (My alias there is Hipster Hamster – they want me to focus on Indie, [...]

  2. [...] team member Hipster Hamster’s review of You Say Party! We Say Die! – XXXX is also up here. Many more to follow at [...]

  3. [...] Lonely’s Lunch – You Say Party! We Say Die! – XXXX [...]

  4. [...] There is XXXX (Within My Heart) – You Say Party! We Say Die! – XXXX [...]

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