DIIV arrives on the scene in style, delivering the best debut album of the year.
Captured Tracks, 2012
9.1 / 10.0
In the indie rock industry, it’s rare that a band lives up to the hype built around their debut album and no up-and-coming act was under more pressure to perform than DIIV, brainchild of Z. Cole Smith, guitarist in Beach Fossils’ live band. Ever since the October release of the “Sometime” 7″, the Brooklyn four-piece has become a fixture on the blogosphere and their latest LP, Oshin, has been among the most anticipated releases of 2012. Luckily, Oshin does more than just meet its expectations, it exceeds them.
Unlike many bands on the Captured Tracks label, DIIV heads to the studio to record their debut. Although Oshin isn’t technically a “lo-fi” album, they manage to fit right in with reverb-washed labelmates like Wild Nothing and Craft Spells, who recorded their first records at home. Z. Cole Smith uses the studio to his advantage, adding layer upon layer of swirling synths and chorus-heavy guitars, all smashed into an ear clogging shoegaze sandwich.
Although each song seems to be cut from the same cloth, (a mix of Slowdive and Neu!) peel away the curtains of fuzz and reverb and see the extent of Smith’s genre spanning songcraft. While the intro song, ”(Druun)”, is a post-rock gem, “Follow” sounds like an outtake from Cloud Nothings’ self titled debut, complete with a catchy riff and youthful, imperfect vocals.
The two singles, “Sometime” and “Human”, remain mainly unchanged but are fleshed out with louder drums and a bit more bass than the original demos. Keyboards are used a more often than I expected, especially on “Wait”, adding a bit more weightlessness to an already dreamy track. Another keyboard heavy track is the closer, “Home”, which is reminiscent of Boards of Canada.
Oshin is one of those albums where, by the time you’ve listened to it three or four times, you eargerly anticipate certain moments. The solos in “How Long Have You Known” and “Follow”, for example, are pure musical ecstacy. The thought that DIIV can improve upon this effort is exciting. If you buy any LP this year, buy the album that leaves you floating in an Oshin of sound.
Purchase: Diiv – Oshin