They're not tripping; they're You Say Party! We Say Die!

If I didn’t know any better, I’d read this quote from You Say Party! We Say Die! siren Becky Ninkovic and assume she’s candyflipping her face off as her band speeds across the Pacific Northwest to their next tour stop.

“We knew there was this energy of love kind of taking over everything, coming out of a hard time of too much touring and just being really worn down,” Ninkovic says regarding the conception of the band’s junior-year effort, XXXX (Paper Bag Records, 2009). The title signifies “love” as opposed to any of the four-letter words that traditionally require Xing out.

“As we were reconnecting with each other and ourselves through the music, there was this power that was binding us all together, so we wanted the title to capture that.”

In this instance, it’s a stretch to presume MDMA speaks on Ninkovic’s behalf, as she failed to exhibit any obvious signs of psychotropic drug use during this interview. Were they spoken by a singer for some crunchy trust fund neo-hippie organization, such sunny sentiments could induce prolonged episodes of uncontrollable vomiting. Coming from YSP! WSD!’s singer, they’re more like breath-cleansing gum you would chew after a vomity episode. Saccharine yet refreshing--or maybe even jarring.

Jaded rock musicians might as well be manufactured on assembly lines, for like most factory-produced things, those people harm the environment and are boring. Perhaps they could learn from YSP! WSD!’s upbeat outlook. The suburban Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada based dance-punk quintet has endured their share of figurative and literal ass-kickings, yet they’ve somehow produced some of their least aggravated material to date.

As has been reported in the Phoenix, attempts to navigate beefed up post-9/11 immigration bureaucracy for visas hit several snags last time YSP! WSD! ventured a US tour. The situation got gnarly when the undeterred, visa-less band got stopped at the border. 

“There were a lot of guards there that had just come from the Middle East,” Ninkovic recalls. “They were extra intimidating.”

 Bassist Stephen O’Shea’s personal efforts to defuse the fiasco earned him five hours of grilling by border cops, and a five-year ban from the States. Happily, after a lengthy process of legal finagling, O’Shea’s allowed back a year early, just in time for YSP! WSD! to tour out XXXX, and hits T.T.'s Saturday in the process.

That wasn’t even the most epic international incident of YSP! WSD!’s young career. During week 14 of a 16 week tour in 2007, Ninkovic and drummer Devon Clifford came to the verge of savage fisticuffs after a show in Berlin. Bouncers dutifully gave them the heave-ho.

“When humans reach their last straw, all sorts of things that you’d never think you would do come out,” says Ninkovic, a little reticent on the topic. As is common knowledge, any successful tour includes at least one band member versus band member post-show slobber-knocker, breakup, and morning after reunion. This particular explosion apparently got nasty enough to be worth mentioning in YSP! WSD!’s official bio three years later. Shit must’ve reached Some Kind of Monster levels of drama.

It’s not so much the uproarious warehouse show dace-punk spazz-outs of Hit the Floor (Sound Document, 2005) and Lose All Time (Paper Bag Records, 2007) did much staring into the abyss – but XXXX throws the most glitter drenched party this band has ever told us to die at. YSP! WSD!’s rejection of negative thinking has begotten Go-Go’s style punchy-ness (“Glory”), and twitchy, sultry-side of sinister shake-downs (“Make XXXX,” “Cosmic Wanship Avengers.”) Meanwhile, “Laura Palmer’s Prom” fits more naturally at the closing credits of a John Hughes teen romance flick than a David Lynch bloodcurdler.

“We were always hoping our music would come out with that kind of timelessness to it. We didn’t quite accomplish that until this album. It’s been a learning process, and I think a lot of things in life are. Each album we’ve made kind of captured that process, that journey."

YOU SAY PARTY! WE SAY DIE! + THE NEW COLLISIONS + STATIC OF THE GODS | T.T. the Bear’s, 10 Brookline St., Central Sq., Cambridge | March 27 @ 9:30pm | $10 adv., $12 doors | 617-492-BEAR or

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