Plenty of intermediate New Wave punks on this one, all of them adept at wringing a good pop melody out of a burst of anger. Dick Diver features members of the irreplaceable Australian post-punkers Total Control, as well as UV Racer alum; the simply titled Melbourne, Florida alludes to the sounds of those bands but has a sweeter, more straight-forward sound, stringing itself to the clean chords of Television and the bounciness of a chill new indie rock band.
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Ever since Robert Pollard fell asleep on his night watch shift, jangle pop has made its way across the globe, and Dick Diver -- named after a character from a Fitzgerald novel, which isn’t necessarily any less embarrassing than it just being a crude joke -- gladly took to it. A band formed out of the mould of other Australian underground outfits, whether they’re making more indie pop (UV Race, Boomgates) or dead-eyed no wave (Total Control), they stand as a supergroup, experienced enough to stuff songs with melodies like pop taxidermists. Like most bands with this many parts contributing to the whole, though, Dick Diver are more complex than they should be -- their simple, direct music is spoiled for choice.
“Waste The Alphabet” starts things off with the incarnation Dick Diver that’s most exciting to hear: guitars ringing gorgeously with one another, moving sweetly and swiftly, barely paying credence to the unassuming lyrics about shy romances that float on the melodic breeze. The effortlessness recalls Real Estate with a little more smarminess. From there, things roam free: each member of the band gets the chance to show off their stylistic leanings, “Year In Pictures” a slow-burning radio pop tune with blistering sax and a steady beat, “Leftovers” continuing in its fashion but with a meditatively strummed intro and less insistence on its choruses. Then we get the twee pop of “Beat Me Up”, which is based around pantomimic piano and snarky lyrical gestures.
Listening to a Dick Diver record is not dissimilar to hearing the New Pornographers and wanting a particular version of their sound to stick; there are similar knacks for humour, heart and pure melodic force on here, but they never quite connect with each-other. ‘Melbourne, Florida’ is chock full of excellent songs, but they feel completely free of one another; there’s nothing holding these smartalecs together. Still, it’s a treat we get to hear them at all: stick around for “Private Number” and air-guitar those riffs with your eyes closed and your sunglasses on.
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