Monday 23 July 2012

DIIV - Oshin

Album review by KevW

Former Beach Fossils guitarist Zachary Cole Smith has done very well for himself since parting ways with his old band and starting up solo project Dive last year. After fleshing things out to a quartet and changing their name to DIIV (in the unlikely event that people would confuse them for the Belgian industrial band Dive) they've become quite the hype stars, celebrated by both the indie and mainstream press. The streets of Brooklyn must be groaning under the weight of dreampop outfits at the moment, so is there really anything to make DIIV stick out and deserve all this attention? Or are they just another trendy passing fad?

Well longevity can never be guaranteed, but the name DIIV looks set to be more than just a footnote in 'The Encyclopaedia Brooklyn: Shoegaze Edition July 2012, Vol. III'. Debut album 'Oshin' does cut the mustard, although essentially it's a great big list of dreampop clich├ęs. It's hazey, it shimmers alright, there are guitars that both sparkle and drone, the vocals are ghostly and sometimes seem to float around without direction, the overriding impression is, y'know, kind of ethereal. It jangles, it buzzes, it sounds like a scientific experiment where men in white coats have genetically modified genes from My Bloody Valentine, The Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, The Radio Dept. and others and grown a new band in a lab, this being the result.

It's a mighty fine result that sounds not quite of this world, existing in the strange twilight land where reality and reverie coexist. For the large part the vocals are mere wisps, faint outlines of words swirling at the back of the mix on songs such as 'Past Lives' and 'Sometime'. At other points '(Druun)' and 'Oshin (Subsume)' are largely instrumental and have the same effect on the brain as bright sunlight reflecting off the sea. 'How Long Have You Known' and 'Doused' fit into the 'future classics' bracket, but to be fair much of the album does. It may be made up of other band's spare parts and be about as unique as a virgin at a Dungeons & Dragons convention but this really is a belting record and as close to dreampop perfection as we've had all year. 'Oshin' is worth the hype, so DIIV right on in, the water's lovely.


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