Who | DIIV
When | Thursday, March 31
Where | Lido, Berlin
In this day and age, waiting any longer than two years to put out a sophomore record can be a career killer. Then let it be a testament to DIIV‘s excellence that their staying power saw them through a 4-year dry spell to the release of their follow-up last month. Formed in 2011, the Brooklyn indie band became fast favorites after the release of their 2012 debut LP Oshin, but due to the personal issues of various band members, retreated from the spotlight. Like any good artist, though, lead singer and guitarist Zachary Cole Smith tapped into this tumultuous time and channeled the ensuing creative energy, resulting in the ambitious double album, Is The Is Are.
This 17-song monolith rewards those who commit the time it takes to listen to the LP in its entirety, as it’s much more than the sum of its parts. Spanning over an hour, Is The Is Are fully immerses listeners in a swirling universe of hazy distortion that seems to go on even after the music stops. DIIV‘s sound is at the crossroads of shoegaze, krautrock, and post-punk, occasionally incorporating the lighter elements of dream pop, for a sonic experience that’s incredibly entrancing. Of course, the real-life struggles of the band’s members have directly affected their songwriting both musically and lyrically, lending a dark overtone to most of the album. But while the gravity of songs like ‘Dust’—in which Cole sings of the subsequent hopelessness drug addiction—could get exhausting, there are its foils like ‘Under the Sun’ which offer a light at the end of the tunnel.
Here’s to hoping that this bittersweetness signals DIIV‘s permanence in the scene, but in any case, their triumphant comeback in the form of Is The Is Are is cause enough to celebrate.
For fans of: Wild Nothing, War on Drugs, Deerhunter