25 June 2012
Review: DIIV - Oshin
Label: Captured Tracks
Genre: Indie Rock
Release date: 26 June 2012
It seems to be a bit of a recent trend for bands to change their name, and then go and release an album in June. Pop Etc did it, after changing their name from the Morning Benders. And now it's DIIV's turn. The Brooklyn four-piece shoegaze band, fronted by Beach Fossils guitarist Zachary Cole Smith, used to be known as Dive, but have since changed their moniker to DIIV in May this year. Their debut album is called Oshin, and it's a great little release, characterised by looping electric guitar riffs that build and build, and minimal vocals that are so distorted and distant that they appear barely there. For me, Oshin feels on par with the best of bands like Deerhunter, The Twilight Sad and Lotus Plaza.
The only bad thing about the album is that each track can feel a little indistinct from each other. Everything is played at almost exactly the same pace, so each track kind of just runs into the next without any recognisable transitions. The songs that do stand out are those which break the formula - for example 'Wait' adds a layer of 80s-style synthesisers on top of the guitars to grab your attention, and 'Earthboy' slows the tempo down a few notches in compelling style. 'How Long Have You Known' is another highlight, because it lets Zachary Cole Smith's vocals be made out in detail for the first time. These small but noticable touches add to the richness and variety of Oshin, and make it that much more worthwhile to listen to.
Final recommendation: Overall, Oshin is a great record. It's a luscious, expansive, addictive debut for DIIV, with enough layers of detail to encourage an endless number of repeat listens. The ideal soundtrack to your next mid-winter weekend.
DIIV "Doused" by capturedtracks