DIIV
Frog In Boiling Water


4.0
excellent

Review

by jesper STAFF
June 3rd, 2024 | 38 replies


Release Date: 05/24/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: niice

In all honesty, Frog in Boiling Water has been confusing me ever since its release. It is few things, and it is many things: above all, however, it is a great album - that’s not where the confusion lies. Rather, the fact that DIIV’s fourth LP is easy to describe yet hard to pin down can be identified as the culprit: I could say “good shoegaze album nice atmosphere” and that’d be as accurate a description as you’ll get. At the same time, positioning “good shoegaze album nice atmosphere” within the context of DIIV as a band and shoegaze as a genre… yeah, yikes. I’ll try.

Right: DIIV have been a little underwhelming for most of their career. They’ve always put out good-not-great records while moving further from their beach fossilised origins with each release. To me, they’re a band whose image and, sure, vibe was ahead of their actual music right up to 2019’s Deceiver: DIIV’s most drawn-out, patient and, admittedly, traditional album to date. It showed a shoegaze band discovering the general rule that more reverb = more good about a decade into their career, and most importantly, it seemed like this more atmospheric approach suited Zachary Cole Smith’s voice and songwriting better than anything prior. As such, Frog in Boiling Water perfecting this newfound love for, uh, let’s call it normiegaze makes sense, but it still seems like no one anticipated DIIV to make an album this consistent, this entrancing, this good... cuz, ya know, they’re pushing 40 and all that.

Enough reason to get excited, no? No… yes? Maybe? This is shoegaze we’re talking about here: we can’t lift up our heads too high even though I’m a size nine. Frog in Boiling Water, at face value, sounds deeply unexciting if enjoyable. It’s a shoegaze album: guitars fuzz, drums loop, vocals are vaguely buried. Most (least?) strikingly, its ten tracks require patience: there’s hooks and choruses to be found here, but they’re understated and a little shy to reveal themselves. At first, it’s hard to distinguish different moments: everything blurs together into a wonderful, floaty mass - there’s no standout moments, hell, there’s not even a the long song. However, the primary memorable thing about the album is its atmosphere: it’s dark, it’s ethereal, it’s shoegaze, dammit. And it ensures you keep coming back. And once it’s dug its eight front toes in, things get a little exciting. A little.

Sure, it may have taken a while, but it’s hard to not be enraptured by how “Raining on Your Pillow”s cutesy bleep-bloops aid its haunting, hypnotising aura. It becomes clear how sticky Smith’s one-liners are, somehow avoiding cliche through sheer conviction and dedication to the atmosphere - “I want to disappear”, “I’m on my way out”. It’s nearly impossible not to be mesmerised by the wonderful production subtly highlighting each instrument throughout - best exemplified by an excellent bassline stealing the show in “Soul-net” in spite of the song’s mesmerising riffs. Crucially: tracks reveal themselves to possess an identity beyond vaguely pleasant and pleasantly vague…

…however, Frog in Boiling Water remains a shoegaze album, and a predictable one at that. At the same time, it’s special because it’s a great-not-good DIIV album, sure, but I would argue that it’s also fairly special for its unrelenting consistency: there is no dip in quality at any point, and while no song is earth-shatteringly amazing, there’s something (quite a lot, it seems) to be said for a record of nothing but great tracks. This really is a good shoegaze album with a nice atmosphere - but it’s also a little more than that. And it doesn’t seem to care about any of it: the h2o is getting quite hot and there are loafers to be seen.




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user ratings (87)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Staff Reviewer
June 3rd 2024


5545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

forg

theBoneyKing
June 3rd 2024


24563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Spot on take, nice. Agree that this album requires (and rewards) patience, songwriting is subtle but definitely well above par for recent shoegaze.

heck
June 3rd 2024


7169 Comments


poor frog :'(

theBoneyKing
June 3rd 2024


24563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The title track’s chorus is incredible.

Cayit
June 4th 2024


44 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like expected...Very Good Album!

Nadal2021
June 4th 2024


7 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This was so disappointing. I felt like a zombie staring into space listening to this album. It was just the same note over and over. I really liked their first couple of albums but this just felt tired and really half baked. If I need a quick nap I will stick this on.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2024


6027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is definitely my favorite DIIV, great replay value. Jesper, you nailed it in the review, I don't feel this one really has standout songs but it's remarkably consistent in quality from start to finish.

ticklemeemo
June 4th 2024


35 Comments


Brown Paper Bag is RAD

normaloctagon
Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2024


4148 Comments


Lovely review Jesper. Weird and kind of off putting cover art. What’s your take on the album title?

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2024


26411 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Ooooooh gotta check

theBoneyKing
June 5th 2024


24563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wasted all the commons

A looted golden calf

Ivory towers and ivory crosses

My livelihood is rotting in your hands man


JesperL
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2024


5545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

tyty :]



norma: they're very lefty/anarchy coded so i'm interpreting it in that context as the boiling frog metaphor (i'm tired so wikipedia does a nice job lol: "...a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly."). revolution activism etc

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2024


5545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

also i wanted to throw in comparisons to the great dismal in this rev (gazers pushing 40 making their best alb etc etc) but couldn't make it work without sounding incredibly backhanded lol, "frog = tgd for people who wish tgd didn't have peaks or valleys" feels a bit mean

normaloctagon
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2024


4148 Comments


@jesp you mean in their personal lives right? I’ve never gotten a political vibe from their music whatsoever

theBoneyKing
June 6th 2024


24563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I’m obsessed with this. Kind of incredible tbh

And norma, they have explicitly publicized this one as political in nature.

onionbubs
June 6th 2024


21499 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

finally hitting this and its definitely the best diiv ive heard. i kinda love it

theBoneyKing
June 6th 2024


24563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The liner notes on their Bandcamp are well worth reading: https://diiv.bandcamp.com/album/frog-in-boiling-water

Aerialist
June 6th 2024


245 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gonna have to give this more time but enjoyed my first listen through

normaloctagon
Contributing Reviewer
June 6th 2024


4148 Comments


@boneyking word haven’t checked this yet. Was referring to their discog previous to this

gabba
June 6th 2024


1308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Music for daydreaming, gazing at the clouds rather than one’s shoes. Fine textures of melancholy, slow-burning but never boiling.



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