Step Right Up: DIIV
Words: Mark Carry, illustration: Craig Carry
‘How long have you known? How long has it shown? Forever, if ever, forever’, Z. Cole Smith sings repeatedly over a gorgeous Johnny Marr esque guitar line on the track ‘How Long Have You Known?’ The song was my first taste of DIIV’s album ‘Oshin’and its beautiful atmospheric guitar pop soundscapes. The song immediately reminded me of Real Estate, with its heartfelt lyrics and effortlessly coherent sound to match. Both band’s music is a sensory experience and like Real Estate’s ‘Days’ album, ‘Oshin’ is full of irresistible dream pop creations.
DIIV is the moniker for a one Zachary Cole Smith; musical provocateur, guitarist in Beach Fossils and frontman of the wonderful Brooklyn four-piece, DIIV. Smith’s childhood friend Andrew Bailey (guitar), Devin Ruben Perez (bass) and Colby Hewitt (drums, formerly of Smith Westerns) make up the group. A large sonic palette is drawn from on ‘Oshin’; from classic krautrock (Can, Neu!), dreamy shoegaze to dream pop of The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen. Clean reverbed guitars, danceable drum beats and driving bass lines flow across the album’s thirteen tracks. A parallel can be made to The War On Drugs with their atmospheric collage of sound, especially on the highlight ‘Follow’. ‘Bleached black from the smile on a glimpse of your face’ is a lyric and could be a classic Go Betweens song in its sheer simplicity and beauty. Equally mesmerizing is ‘Earthboy’ with its meandering guitars flowing beneath Cole’s ethereal vocals, ‘If I’m alone and you’re free now we know nothing’s ever meant to be/But come along with me and be my secret side that no one sees’.
DIIV started off as a bedroom project, where it’s been under a year since DIIV’s first single ‘Sometime’ to the release of debut album ‘Oshin’. In a short space of time, Z. Cole Smith and co. have created a delicate, blissed out landscape of sound in the shape of ‘Oshin’. For fans of Real Estate, The War On Drugs and Deerhunter your name is written all over this magical debut.
‘Oshin’ is out now on Captured Tracks.