DIIV – Oshin (album) (Captured Tracks)
Established in 2011 as founder Zachary Cole Smith’s solo recording project, Brooklyn’s DIIV has now expanded to a four piece band. Part post-punk, part indie and part dream-pop (think ‘M83’ on their ‘Saturdays = Youth’ album minus the electronics), DIIV’s sound is wrapped with nostalgia, reminiscent of the pop elements of ‘The Cure’ circa ‘Disintegration’ with gorgeous, rhythmic, melodic guitars and often equally as melodic bass lines. Unlike the aforementioned album though, the vibe on ‘Oshin’ is surprisingly upbeat.
Put simply, ‘Oshin’ is one of the most melodic guitar albums in recent memory. Beginning with the instrumental track ‘Druun’, and the majority of ‘Oshin’, calls to mind images and sounds from ‘The Breakfast Club’(or more recently ‘Starter For 10’). ‘Druun’ is a fun collage of 80’s sounds full of shimmering, melodic guitar lines and gated reverb drums.
Vocals are introduced during the second track, ‘Past Lives’ (an absolute gem), recalling similar quality to ‘M83’ and ‘My Bloody Valentine’. Hushed, reverberated, delayed, and echo-ed to the point where lyrics are indecipherable, Zachary Cole Smith’s vocals take on the role of another instrument rather than that of a traditional vocalist.
‘Oshin’ is a largely instrumental album and on the tracks that do feature vocals, Zachary Cole Smith simply floats in and out for maybe a verse or two before disappearing completely.
Interestingly, there are no choruses or traditional song structures to ‘Oshin’ with the average song time sitting between 2:30 and 3:30 and only one song being longer than four minutes. At times the songs feel like demos yet to be expanded into full songs.
‘Air Conditioning’ takes on a somewhat different vibe to the rest of the album. Based around an almost Southern blues-rock riff before the melodic guitar line is introduced, ‘DIIV’ lock into a groove and could literally sit in this jam for hours.
Until Zachary Cole Smith’s hushed vocals are introduced, ‘Wait’ sounds so very reminiscent of ‘The Psychedelic Furs’ and ‘Earthboy’ sounds like it has been lifted straight from ‘Disintegration’. However it’s important to point out that ‘Oshin’ isn’t an 80’s throwback album; ‘How Long Have You Known’ takes on a California indie meets ‘M83 ‘dream-pop vibe; a sound that would go down well with the Silverlake / Brooklyn and Urban Outfitters hipster crowds of today.
Despite all the comparisons, ‘Oshin’ is a surprisingly refreshing album to listen to. An extremely enjoyable album and favourite ‘new find’ for 2012.
Watch the video for “Doused” below: