DIIV have produced a whole 17 songs for their hard-to-say-out-loud second album Is The Is Are. Zachary Cole Smith (formerly a Darwin Deez associate) has led his band into the fruitful territory of melodic shoegaze-tinged dream pop, which they perform with aplomb. CD or double LP on the Captured Tracks label.
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Sometimes you just have to separate the stories you hear about an band from the sound of the music. From recent press reports DIIV are enormo-trousered, heroin gulping fuck ups with a bassist who says dubious things on the internet. On record however they are delight. One wonders how people with so many problems manage to make such uplifting music. Opener 'Out of Mind' fairly skips along like Deerhunter collaborating with Wild Nothing. The title track melds a bass line from Ride's 'Leave them All Behind' with a guitar part not dissimilar from The Cult's 'She Sells Sanctuary' and 'Bent' makes it perfectly plain why this band were immediately snapped up by Captured Tracks. They have down pat that treated, glistening guitar sound used by everyone from the Cleaners from Venus to Echo and the Bunnymen. Here's where the vocals are really Bradford Cox with that slightly off key/off kilter dream-like delivery.
Further investigation reveals a retreat into post punk murk - the Sky Ferreira sung 'Blue Boredom' is possibly the worst thing here, lost in a fog of Spacemen 3 isms but skip to the next track 'Valentine' and the lightness of touch re-appears. A standard post Cure piece of eerie post punk is enlivened by weird samples than run out and as throughout the album has pulsating bass playing which drives everything along nicely. 'Take Your Time' has the most wonderful coda jam packed with chiming guitars that build in intensity as the track climaxes. Really good.
It probably doesn't need to be a double album - at this stage in their career DIIV are probably best off with the short, sharp shock approach and the lesser tracks rather water the thing down somewhat. They are blindingly obvious about their influences and it's also very probable that they are a bunch of insufferable Brooklyn rich kids. However let's go back to the beginning and separate everything out and there is some really good stuff here for fans who like to compile jangle pop and post punk.
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- Is The Is Are by DIIV
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