Double Dagger -333 (Thrill Jockey Records)
20 April 2013
In their nine years together, Double Dagger have played with some pretty impressive names – The Buzzcocks, Pere Ubu and Lightning Bolt – and boast past band members from League Of Death and Pissed Jeans. Hailing from Baltimore, the post-punk trio say goodbye with a new six track album called ‘333’ and accompanying DVD, ‘If We Shout Loud Enough’.
There’s more than a hint of Joy Division to the opening of ‘The Mirror’ with the bass taking the place of a customary guitar. Slow drums kicking in with a Pixies (‘Doolittle’) style, Nolen Strals’ spoken vocals quite back in the mix slowly leading up to over-enthused shouting, and, thumping drums to a chorus which is instantly memorable. A superb raw, live feel capturing power and energy alike. ‘Foreign Bodies’ displays elements of punk etiquette with a tune trying its best to break out, and, at two and a half minutes it’s short and to the point.
Instrumental, ‘Space Dust’, again has an almost Peter Hook bassline and bounces along up to ‘Supply Demand’ which bursts into action with an intro that scared the shit out of me the first time it started. Ready to explode and more than capable. After an initial comparison to The Dresden Dolls, ‘Figure Eights’ flows into a strange melody which could almost have come from CBeebies as it rises up the scales. The introduction of good percussion and synths add to the track and to the diversity of the album.
Closing with Heretic’s Hymn, Double Dagger again draws from Pixies and punk with a monster of a track apparently celebrating participation “in the DIY scene as a spiritual experience and decries the growing encroachment of capitalism on punk as blasphemy”. Who am I to argue? I do know it has some nods in the direction of The Sex Pistols, and, a strangely calming bass interlude after just a couple of minutes.
It’s an album of diversity and overwhelming confidence, and, is a fitting epitaph to one of Baltimore’s most influential bands.