DIIV
Is the Is Are


3.5
great

Review

by larrytheslug USER (19 Reviews)
February 7th, 2016 | 70 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: DIIV channel a plethora of genres and influences to meet the minimum confines of a band still finding their niche.

Little pieces of a blatantly fragmented sentence make up the title to DIIV’s coveted follow up to 2012’s Oshin. Seemingly reaching beyond their creative limits at first glance with an odd album title, the band are more than meets the eye on their follow up to their well received debut record. Is the Is Are arrives in the midst of an evolving post-punk revival scene, taking a congested bag of influences and attempting to create an album worthy of its predecessors. Even since Oshin, many a band have burst forth onto the scene hoping to stir some of the same magic that made the decades past such a magical creative apex. Isn’t that how the scene appears to unfold as of late? The creed of bands in the late seventies and eighties, the true pioneers of post-punk and new wave sounds, capitalized on the conscious of their fans desperate for change. A new revolution was seeded in culture’s spreading from the UK to the US; a saga was being created, one of purpose and justice in the way people treated music and ethics, but also how that tailored to politics and how they lived their lives. Music was more or less a release from the confines of society for the rock and roll visionaries and subsequent punk rockers, but post-punk was a progressive ideology that naturally built on these ideals itself.

Enter DIIV here in 2016. No strangers to their own controversial antics in the period between debut and sophomore records, Zachery Cole Smith and crew search for the historical post-punk staples of the past to craft a dreamy sound much like on their debut, but with a few twists. Quick observation of track listing reveals an eerily similar layout to their most obvious musical influence, The Cure. Is the Is Are spans seventeen tracks, and much like Robert Smith’s ever increasing glimmers of joy from album to album (Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me), Cole has taken careful notes, watched the tapes, and walked in the shoes of that a student of sonic revelation. DIIV are stretching beyond the normal measures of what a band like The Cure was, or even what contemporaries would see as fit in the creative process without capsizing. Their sound is quite the collection of sonic textures, reaching in small portions, samples of both familiar instrumentation (dream pop, post-punk) and newer experimentation (shoegaze, neo-psychedelia). Again, the extended album run time allows for many patterns of familiarity, that of what makes DIIV good, but the numerous amount of songs also possesses rehashing of material in the same time span. For a savvy listener in the movement, they can take the seventeen songs with a grain of salt. It can work as background music, but on a deeper level, the substance of tracks like “Take Your Time” exemplify a band capable of more than just three minute reverb-drenched medleys. The jangle-pop guitars are a consistent factor, yet Smith’s vocals carry a sweet innocence in the melody, despite how dark the subject material may appear.

Ask a myriad of different listeners, and opinions can sway drastically as to whether or not DIIV have created an album worth the light of day, let alone coming back here with a huge batch of new songs. Either way you look at it, credit is due at the least to the band’s developing sound beyond the simplistic execution on Oshin. Right down to the production and musical ability, DIIV show on Is the Is Are that creating an enjoyable listen is nothing short of poetic prowess and careful contemplation of the people and cultures that have influenced their sound. There are plenty of curveballs to keep things interesting too, branching from Zachery Cole Smith featuring girlfriend and fellow musician Sky Ferreira on “Blue Boredom”, to utilizing unorthodox feedback and noise in the guitars and other techniques on tracks like “Dust”. Any guitar driven rock songs seem to be an anomaly in this day and age, and although DIIV aren’t reinventing the wheel, they are the spark towards someone stepping up in the future and doing just that. To those that find the extended play time and derivative sound dreary, that is completely understandable. This record isn’t for everyone, not because it is inaccessible, but because it tends to suffer from a formulaic implementation. However, at its heart, Is the Is Are is completely aware from a tributary perspective. Their sleeves are chock-full of the authoritative voices of a movement they hope to recreate, and the next logical step in DIIV’s growing sound is completed to a satisfactory level.



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user ratings (184)
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
basementality (2)
DIIV delivers the most disingenuous album of 2016....


Comments:Add a Comment 
larrytheslug
February 7th 2016


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This band has serious potential. Can't wait for what's next.



https://durbanboys.wordpress.com/2016/02/07/diiv-is-the-is-are/

slikphuk
February 7th 2016


457 Comments


really enjoyed oshin, definitely will czech this out. nice review!

Digging: Lord Mantis - Universal Death Church

DoofusWainwright
February 7th 2016


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A bit like Deerhunter minus the personality and subversive edge

anarchistfish
February 7th 2016


27898 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

is there anything here as good as doused

Digging: Knocked Loose - A Different Shade of Blue

larrytheslug
February 8th 2016


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

definitely some winners here and there. it's all good, just alot of tracks.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2016


3099 Comments


I like this band, I just wish Oshin were better, but I'll check this out. Thanks for the review.

Digging: Keaton Henson - Six Lethargies

climactic
February 8th 2016


22452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

avg rating scares me but sometimes sput is dumb

brandontaylor
February 9th 2016


874 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

band/album is decent but every time i find myself wanting to listen to this kind of music i just go for wild nothing instead

tommygun
February 9th 2016


26970 Comments


agreed nocturne is the greatest album of all time

this band is nice but forgettable

good stuff larry

pos

rabidfish
February 9th 2016


5525 Comments


They're pronounsed "DIVE"??? I was calling them "DEEVH"!

why didn't anyone tell me? I've been making a fool out of myself!

larrytheslug
February 9th 2016


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thx tommy. long time no talk ;]

alienobserver
February 9th 2016


4494 Comments


sweet

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2016


12198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i think this could have been slimmed down and the band really only has one sound that they keep going back to, but damn if they don't nail that sound here far better than Oshin did imo.

larrytheslug
February 10th 2016


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks for the feature!

twlichty
February 11th 2016


4183 Comments


Diiv has a fantastic and unique sound. Love this album, surprised it's a 3.2 overall

twlichty
February 11th 2016


4183 Comments


Sputnik is so wrong sometimes

Cygnatti
February 11th 2016


32932 Comments


band has always been pretty meh tbh

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
February 11th 2016


6744 Comments


3.2 is a pretty reasonable rating tbh, sput usually just splooges over everything so it looks meagre by comparison

larrytheslug
February 11th 2016


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

there aren't even that many ratings yet, idk.



sputnik does have very high averages overall though.

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2016


12198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Valentine is definitely my favorite thing here



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