One Bullet From Paradise marks the first album release from goth rockers Die So Fluid since 2014, and it may come as a little bit of a surprise, and a welcome dose of familiarity, to the fans that have been loyally following their career.
For my part, I’ve been a fan since the late 90s, when I first heard Grog sing ‘Just As You Are’, back when the band was called Feline. That punky girl-fronted rock band spoke directly to my rebellious teenage heart, and Grog was elevated to my pedestal of kick-ass women idols. Now in my late 30s, it’s the perfect time for dwelling on nostalgia. While their 2014 release, The Opposites of Light, probably stands as my favourite album, their 2004 debut as Die So Fluid, Spawn of Dysfunction, sits in that special place in my heart reserved for first loves. (Alongside ‘Just As You Are’, of course, which I still own on CD.)
And that’s what One Bullet From Paradise is all about; it’s a return to their original sound. A return to the grungy, punky, dirty rock, that sounds like it belongs in dingy little clubs, or their parents’ basements, just like all good rock music should. But don’t let that grimy punk edge fool you into thinking that they’re amateurs, or unrehearsed. Die So Fluid are nothing short of slick professionals, and the opening instrumentals of the first track, ‘HumanUNkind’, will leave you with no doubts. And when Grog’s vocals kick in, it’s just like returning to the early days, like reliving the party all over again.
But, not exactly like that. To say they’re doing the same as what they were doing back in the early 2000s is a total disservice to everything that’s happened in between. The band have, of course, evolved and grown, and One Bullet From Paradise is a contemporary incarnation of the earlier sound of Die So Fluid. It’s older, wiser, and has weathered one heck of a blow from the universe: namely the unexpected death of the band’s drummer, Al, in 2016. This album is a testament to their determination, their grit, and it stands as the perfect dedication.
It’s hard to miss the through-theme of the album, with songs such as boot-stomping anthem ‘Tomorrow Doesn’t Always Come’ and the beautifully haunting ballad ‘Farewell’. These tracks are not only catharsis for the band, they’re a reminder for all of us to get out there and live our lives, because we never know when it’s all going to end.
The sheer range of styles packed into this one release shows just how the band can bring together all of their influences, everything that’s come before, and mix it into something completely new and delicious. It’s not disjointed as we swing from punk to ballads to rock anthems and even to dance tracks, it doesn’t feel unconnected or like a band unable to pin down their sound. It’s a band so sure of who they are that they can experiment and push boundaries and explore and, beyond everything, have fun playing with music.
One Bullet From Paradise could have so easily become self-indulgent or too inwardly reflective, but it’s actually a fantastic melding of everything they were, everything they are now, and everything that’s happened to them in between. This is Die So Fluid acknowledging exactly who Die So Fluid is, with all of its beautiful faces.
One Bullet From Paradise is out now via Strataville.