Release Date: Jun 26, 2012
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
The side project of Beach Fossils’ Zachary Cole Smith, DIIV has the nectar of its predecessors running through its lo-fi veins. Shoegaze with a retro twist, it becomes clear early into Oshin’s first track “(Druun)” that Z.C. Smith is well studied in the career of Robert Smith. But while successfully appropriating The Cure’s guitar-driven melancholy, DIIV takes the sound to a much more introspective place.
I don't think DIIV intend to be subversive; they're a traditionally structured indie rock band with lyrics that are mostly unintelligible if they're not in the song title. But Oshin isn't just a gorgeous and unusually melodic dream-pop record; it's an interesting experiment in whether a band based on voice/guitar/bass/drums can rely on the guitar to carry the song's meaning. DIIV's songs are built around verses and choruses but these are unusually fluid and intuitive, almost post-rock in miniature.
DIIVOshin[Captured Tracks; 2012]By Jay Lancaster; June 25, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGAround early February, I helped set up for a small show at my college. As I worked, the band lounging near the back of the bar-turned-DIY-space kept grabbing my attention — they were a scrappy bunch with a bohemian charm, youthful and decked out in vintage wear. I’d never listened to them at that point, but their image alone was enticing; I was interested to hear what they were all about.
Review Summary: Please God, no more flubbed portmanteaus. I’m a little pissed at DIIV. Like, DIIV? Oshin? Druun? Give me some more credit, dudes.
After a bevy of 7-inch releases, incendiary live shows, and blog hype that's gradually built to a fever pitch, DIIV have at last delivered their debut LP, Oshin. Upon first exposure, it doesn't seem highly dissimilar to frontman Zachary Cole Smith's other band and Captured Tracks labelmates Beach Fossils, with whom Smith plays guitar. But dig deeper and you'll realize that Smith slyly subverted the conventional Captured Tracks artist template, one of releasing a home-recorded album as an opening volley à la Wild Nothing or Craft Spells.
There’s a reason they call it ‘dream-pop’, you know. On occasions such as these, the art of reason is at play, underneath the marketing plans, the unit-shifting and the click-diversions. It’s dreamy, you see (yuh-huh) – its essence frustratingly tethered just out of reach, songs barely distinct from each other that play out like a montage.
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, there was a high tide of bittersweet, beach-inspired indie pop bands such as the Drums, Surfer Blood, and Beach Fossils, whose Zachary Cole Smith helmed the likeminded Diiv (originally known as Dive, but Cole changed the project's spelling after learning of the Belgian band of the same name). Like Beach Fossils, Diiv's debut album Oshin was released by Captured Tracks and bears all the hallmarks of that label's quintessential sound: jangly guitars, winsome vocals, cavernous reverb, and an overall murky, underwater production aesthetic. However, Cole differentiates Diiv from the rest of the beach-pop pack with a darker, more eclectic feel that incorporates surf and Krautrock on the undulating epic "Air Conditioning," and the fittingly named, multi-part instrumental "(Druun)," which unites Oshin with a hazy glow.
Those who like their indie rock watery and unresolved will find good dowsing here. Brooklyn's Diiv used to be called Dive; Diiv mainman Zachary Cole Smith is in a band called Beach Fossils, and the album's title is, basically, the word "ocean" spelt funny. On the dappled surfaces of this pretty record, the light skitters off trickling, Cure-like guitars.
Pick a song, any song, on the debut album from Brooklyn quartet Diiv and it's likely you'll be momentarily dazzled by its glistening distillation of dream pop. You might pick Air Conditioning, whose twin guitars set off on a cross-country track, scampering and clambering through sun-dappled forests, with bass and drums maintaining solid, fertile ground beneath them. You might pick Human, where frontman Z Cole Smith's exuberant vocal shimmers amid gushing streams of guitar.
There’s a story about how DIIV got their name because all four members have aquatic star signs – but in truth, they’re named “Dive” because their dream-pop constantly evocates liquid, ripples, sunlight twinkling on water. That, and they sound like Slowdive but faster (and less emotive). They turn their delay pedals up way too far and bask in the resultant eddies, but they’re too trendy to bother doing much more.
Inevitably, 2012 was bound to see the rise of at least one hotly tipped buzz band from Brooklyn, NY, and here they are. DIIV are led by Beach Fossils guitarist Z. Cole Smith, whose early singles won over tastemakers with their jangling guitars and sun-kissed haze of reverb and echo. And although Smith now has a full band backing him, he never strays too far from the dreamy style of those first releases.
On its full-length debut, Brooklyn dream-pop band DIIV shows that you can make an album that’s all about vibes—positive, floating-on-a-surfboard vibes. The album is titled Oshin, and this homophone for “ocean” befits the 13 tracks, which rely more an ambiance and melodic sound waves than they do on lyrics. Together, these songs seamlessly trickle from one to the next in a perfect collection of sounds, showcasing both complexity and musical depth in this mostly instrumental music.Oshin starts with “(Druun),” a mellow yet enchanting combination of rhythm and lead guitar.