Beach Fossils guitarist Zachary Cole Smith clearly needed an outlet to craft music of his own – so DIIV was created (actually Dive was created but he has since changed the name)). His proclaimed cultural diet during the writing process included the likes of Faust, Nirvana and the writings of N. Scott Momaday and James Welsh, an indicator of the artist’s wide spectrum of inspiration.
He soon recruited a band, including ex-Smith Westerns’ drummer Colby Hewitt, to create what sounds like a drug-induced daydream of tomorrow and yesterday. Imaginary cameos from early Creation Records, The Cure and other such 80s guitar-pop all appear in spirit .
But don’t get me wrong, Oshin was built for now: the reverb, the haze, and the traces of vocal melody are swept onwards with the continuous stream of glistening guitar lines. Music today isn’t just about instantaneity, you can take the time to build a mood, an ambience, and Smith is knowingly aware of the revised perimeters.
So following the hook-shimmering How Long Have You Known is Wait, a place where synths and guitars house the calling voices only to move upfront whenever the vocals fall back off-radar. Distorted waves build momentum, words are unimportant, it is in the motion.
Then there is the urgency within Doused‘s bassline and frenetic, six-string comedown, getting closer to the ground with a post-punk backline. The second half drops a continual climax of exhilarating riff repetition and infectious rhythm.
I’m not saying there isn’t room to grow, there always is, but DIIV’s debut is a record you can get lost in, with songs that float on the periphery rather than existing in plain grey reality. It makes for some otherworldly pop that might just offer the escape that, more often than not, we need nowadays.