The music business is a strange old game. In an era when the genre of rock music has fallen a bit flat, with no real stand out style or game changing bands arguably since the end of the nineties, it’s a wonder how so often bands with any talent can remain under the radar for so long. You’d expect the cream, as it were, to naturally rise to the top. That being said, it is kinda nice that bands like The Heavy, Kill It Kid and Motorpsycho, to name but a few, get to remain our little secret for as long as they do. However it’s only right to want to see great bands succeed, after all it’s no less than they deserve. In the case of The Heavy and Kill It Kid, it took a popular TV advert to give them each the momentum needed to gain them the popularity they currently enjoy, and you still couldn’t consider either band to have hit the real big time just yet. It’s an era where crap seems to abound, is promoted and celebrated. From the whiny, middle class dirge that is Coldplay and the like, to the supposed nu-metal crap that once respected publications like Kerrang are now peddling. They are merely shit pop bands with guitars that bear no relation to rock or metal music at all. Blues has made a semi comeback thanks to the likes of Jack White, The Black Keys and co, but that’s only because it’s a genre of true substance in the first place that has been around almost since the dawn of popular music itself. Rock and metal can do the same, progressive metal has been doing alright lately with great bands like Mastodon and Tesseract coming to the fore. The Mars Volta were pretty fucking popular for as long as they existed too, they also happened to be pretty fucking good.
You would however still expect talented hard rock bands to be making bigger waves in this era of bland mediocrity. If the modern rock scene was actually any good, bands like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains would probably have stayed in retirement, while the revival of all those fat 80s hair metal bands would probably have never happened, and spared everybody from the embarrassment in the process. The fact is that great new bands do exist, and some have been around a while. One such example is a band called Die So Fluid. I like to think I am fairly up to speed with anything decent that’s going on, but I had never heard of them until very recently. It took a mysterious individual in the cyber world to suddenly appear from nowhere and inform me of their existence, before just as mysteriously disappearing back from whence she came, at least I think it was a ‘she’, it wasn’t particularly clear. However, I will forever be grateful to this curious individual whomever it was, because from the very first listen of this band I was extremely excited about what I was hearing.
Die So Fluid are a three piece ‘power trio’. I’m reluctant to use that phrase cos everybody uses that phrase when there are three players involved, but to be fair they use the phrase themselves and in this particular case it’s quite apt. Fronted by Grog, who plays bass as well as sing, Drew Richards on guitar and Al Fletcher on drums, for about a decade or so Die So Fluid have largely gone unnoticed, and I really cannot figure out for the life of me how they have managed to achieve this? It’s not as if they’ve tried to remain low profile, each of their four albums to date is fantastic in it’s own right and lead singer Grog has as more style and presence than London Fashion Week. Guitarist Drew Richards is probably one of the most talented musicians you’ve never heard of and drummer Al Fletcher is as tight and dynamic on the skins as anybody in any band, anywhere. These are three immensely talented individuals and when they come together, magic is made.
Originally from London (something else to celebrate) more recently Grog has relocated to the States (something I did too not so long ago so it seems I’m in exceptionally good company) while Drew and Al have remained in the UK. The modern age of communication is such that distance proves no boundary, and the band are able to collaborate from afar, and in fact, have produced their best material to date under these circumstances. Having just released their fourth full length album, ‘The Opposites Of Light’, finally the band are seemingly beginning to get the credit they so richly deserve. I’ve been thinking about how to describe them but it might be best to use their own words from their twitter feed – ‘A dark hearted power trio who fluidly combine the muscle of metal, the angular cheekbones of post punk and the bittersweet of grunge’. That’s pretty accurate as you’d expect but you really have to hear them to realize how good this band is.
The easiest thing for me to do would be to review ‘The Opposites Of Light’, their new record, but that would be too easy, it’s fucking brilliant, every track is great, buy it, I absolutely guarantee you will fucking love it! There you are, reviewed! However, I wanna paint you a bigger picture of what this fantastic three piece are about. Firstly Drew Richards the guitarist, he plays the kind of guitar that makes your knob tingle. And that’s before you even lay eyes on Grog! In all seriousness, I would instantly put the guy up there with ANY of the greatest rock guitarists of our time, and in every sense. Not only in technique, but in his creativity, his vision, and in his execution. Fuck this guy can blaze a riff. No solo is the same, there is so much variation in his sound from track to track, and each solo you hear fits that particular song to absolute fucking perfection. It’s as if they actually have three guitarists in the band such is the depth and versatility of his sound. Whatever the song – heavy, soft, fast, slow, simple or progressive, the guy is absolute perfection on a 6 string. I just love the guy’s sound. If I could play guitar, fuck everybody else, I’d wanna play music like this guy.
And so to Grog, aka Georgina Lisee, who I have to say, grabbed my attention instantly with her punk infused voice and striking presence.The band use the latter well. Naturally as the vocalist the attention tends to be focused on her anyway, but frankly, trying to focus on anything else when she’s around would prove a fruitless task.The whole branding of the band uses Grog as the focal point, and why wouldn’t they? Larger than life would be a good description, captivating would be another. Singer, songwriter, bassist, designer, wordsmith, lyricist, she’s one of those people who seems to be good at everything she turns her hand to. I love her voice and the way she delivers her vocals. Her melodies are perfect. A lot like Drew and his versatility on guitar, she seems to be able to lend her voice to anything and adapt her sound perfectly to whatever the song requires. They make a great partnership. From spitting out a fast paced punk track with a snarl she can go in the completely opposite direction with ease and sing a slow paced ballad with poise, grace and vulnerability. Her multi track harmonies sound amazing. I love it when she pushes her voice at the top end as she does on the track ‘Carnival’ from the latest record. She has a power and a clarity that again, makes me tingle. And despite what one or two other reviewers have suggested, there’s nothing wrong with the way she plays bass either, the fact she’s an established session musician in her own right goes to shooting down any accusations of a perceived inadequacy in that department. Sometimes I really wonder what these reviewers are listening to when they come out with this crap?
The fact remains though that the magic these two weave together needs a solid foundation, and drummer Al Fletcher provides it. This is a talented bunch of musicians, with a wide and varied repertoire, Al having provided drums on a Grammy award winning reggae album among many other things! His style is tight, concise and dynamic, with a great feel and knowledge enabling him to provide the perfect canvas for Grog and Drew to paint upon. The guy is as solid as a fucking rock. His background may also explain the couple of reggae tinged tracks that appear on their previous record, ‘The World is Too Big For One Lifetime’, which incidentally is an immense piece of work.
You see that’s what sets this band apart. After hearing ‘Opposites..’ I quickly bought all their other albums, and they are all fantastic. But in listening to them, I don’t think I’ve heard any other band show so many influences of others in their music. It’s like they took the best ingredients of everything good you ever heard and made it into their own. Just to give you an idea I’ve been making a note of who I hear in their music at various points of all four albums, and this is how it looks so far, and I stress the so far – Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Soundgarden, RX Bandits, Led Zep, Black Sabbath, Queensrÿche, Danzig, QOTSA, Steve Wilson/Porcupine Tree, The Mars Volta/At the Drive-in, Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Bjork, The Smiths, Jeff Buckley, Chris Isaak, U2 and any punk band you care to mention. One track even reminds of Hall and fucking Oates! I mean really? Yes really! Look at that fucking list, and these guys are just breaking through after all this time? That’s just what I hear, others will no doubt hear different influences.These three are like the perfect storm, coming together to form a sound that is creative and dynamic, heavy and melodic, original yet classically fucking brilliant. It’s not that they sound like all those bands all of the time, you just hear fleeting moments here and there that sound familiar in one way or another. It’s masterful. They sound like superstars. They should be superstars! Had they been around twenty years ago when the grunge scene really took hold, and maybe had they been from the States and not the UK, they’d be as big as any of those incredible bands who rode that wave. If you didn’t already guess yet, I really, really like this band. For me they are as good as anything I’ve heard in a very long time, and I am mystified how they have pretty much gone unnoticed for so long? It makes no sense to me. I also think if you hear them too, and you can right now by clicking on the vids I’ve provided for you, there is a very good chance that you’re gonna love them just as much as I do!
I’d highly recommend the two most recent albums as a place to begin, ‘The World is Too Big For One Lifetime’ and ‘The Opposites of Light’. But really, start anywhere, you will not go wrong.