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You Say Party! We Say Die! – Xxxx

Released on Paper Bag Records, 2/9/10

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

You Say Party! We Say Die! will make you feel like you stepped in a time machine and landed in 1982.

Which is not an insult, by the way. There was some damn good music made during the New Wave period, and that’s what Xxxx sounds like — an updated version of the classic New Wave albums of the early to mid 80s.

It’s odd that an album that’s so consistently written in a minor key can end up putting you in such a good mood. Maybe it’s the nostalgia effect — which would be a shame, because then maybe it wouldn’t have the same effect for people too young to remember this kind of music when it was new.

There’s a reason this sound was so popular the first time, and it makes sense to bring it back. Guitars are pleasantly jangly, vocals are sparse and almost hollow-sounding, and bassist Stephen O'Shea is rather impressive, as is keyboardist Krista Loewen. The production is unobtrusive, smoothing things out without getting in the way of the music.

This is the third full album for You Say Party! We Say Die!, making them rather prolific as far as indie bands go. The music hasn’t suffered for it, though – every song on Xxxx is solidly written, with nary a weak spot or filler track to be found. You Say Party! We Say Die had a rather rapid rise to success, but they took a little time off before recording Xxxx, and the recording itself took nearly 8 months. The effort paid off — this is a polished, professional, impressive album.