To call these guys ‘New Kids’ is a slight misrepresentation as they have been around the block a few times. However, they have a killer ‘new’ single which includes some unmissable material. For those of you that know them, you’ll remember their carefree indie-pop style paired with some intelligently written lyrics about being bored as a teenager. Their first album, released under the name ‘Dog Is Dead’, “All Our Favourite Stories”, included such big hitters as “Two Devils” (one of my favourite songs of all time ever) and “Teenage Daughter”. The band started when they were fresh out of school, which you could definitely hear. But that was part of their boyish charm and the playful touches, including some jazzy saxophone solos and jaunty drum beats, made their music fun to listen to.
Their new single, the first with the new band name ‘DID’, “Fast Food”, retains this youthful vigour, whilst also developing some more mature themes. The lyrics, written by lead singer and guitarist Rob Milton, are far more intense and have slightly more bite. “Gameplan” has an almost Justin-Timerlake-like R and B feel (100% a compliment). Rob sings over the moody guitar riff and off-beat hi hat with a kind of dry sarcasm. With lines like “In the time it takes to write this/I’ll be like a stranger”, the song packs a punch. Looking at all the girl power leading ladies out there, you might thing that sass is reserved for the Miley Cyruses and the Beyonces of the world. Hell no. Sass scale on this song is a good 8.
My personal favourite is “Big Lie”. It’s been on repeat since it came out and it hasn’t even gotten remotely stale yet. I was apprehensive about the unaccompanied opening but as soon as that trademark harmony kicks in you feel like instruments aren’t even necessary. It builds into a suspenseful pre-chorus: “When you’re busy living/I’m busy dying”. The sponge to the cake is that accusatory line “you big lie” that sounds deliciously like a child screaming at their mum. Then BOOM the icing comes in the form of a rich guitar sound. My only criticism is that they didn’t milk this song. They’ve left it at a succinct 3 mins 38 seconds. With the build up on this track you want there to be a big fat guitar solo with some big fat harmonies which DID have been so good at producing in the past. Hopefully their confidence will grow and allow them to unleash some more power in their upcoming album.
Where they do let a little loose is in the track “Hotel” which has this heavy black-keys vibe. I love the angry guitars and I’m obsessed with the line “Solitude arrives like a guest at a hotel”. YES. This is a prime example of the new, more grown up DID. Their harmonies are more intricate, they are experimenting with new sounds and they have so much more variety in terms of the use of instruments.
In my opinion, it’s time for DID to move away from their indie-pop roots and fully commit to that fearless rocky sound that they give us a taste of in “Hotel”. Saying that, I give the lyrics a 10. Keep up the good work guyz.