Album Reviews

DIIV – Is The Is Are – Album Review

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DIIV – Is The Is Are – Album Review by Killian Laher

Let’s forget about the hype about this band.  Let’s also forget about the arrests and ‘health issues’.  For what we have here on this, DIIV’s second album, is not only a contender for the most nonsensically titled release, but also potentially one of the albums of the year.  Many fine albums open with a pair of strong tracks and here we we kick off with the ringing guitars of Out of Mind and Under the Sun.  The first of these has a bright, sprightly guitar opening the song, joined by some bouncing bass and Zachary Cole Smith’s soft vocals.  The second track is a thing of joy.  A pulsing keyboard, steady drums before the bassline goes exactly where you want it to go.  And that’s before the guitar kicks in…

Blue Boredom is darker, anchored by a low slung baseline and Sky Ferreira on breathy vocals coming off like Sonic Youth in their imperious early 90s period.  It would come across as terribly derivative if it wasn’t done so well, with most of the instruments played by the undoubtedly talented frontman Smith  The guitar touches on tracks like Valentine, the Cure-like Loose Ends, Healthy Moon and much of the rest are positively euphoric.  On the other hand dirty rocker Mire has a bit of grit under its fingernails.  Final track Waste of Breath might be the crowning glory, its gloriously moody mope (think: The Cure’s Seventeen Seconds) momentarily interrupted by a searing guitar solo midway through.

Some tracks are overlong (Bent) and seventeen tracks is a lot to ask of the listener.  But it’s pointless listing off every single track here.  An album like this is one to immerse yourself in.  There is a certain sameyness to the album which can leave you wondering which post-post-punk track you have just listened to, but there is also a sonic unity to the album.  It’s exciting and blissed out at the same time and for some, this could be exactly what you need to hear right now.  Perhaps the most genuinely thrilling album of the year so far.

Track List:

1. Out of Mind
2. Under the Sun
3. Bent (Roi’s Song)
4. Dopamine
5. Blue Boredom (Sky’s Song)
6. Valentine
7. Yr Not Far
8. Take Your Time
9. Is The Is Are
10. Mire (Grant’s Song)
11. Incarnate Devil
12. (Fuck)
13. Healthy Moon
14. Loose Ends
15. (Napa)
16. Dust
17. Waste of Breath

 

Under the Sun:

 

 

 

 

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