6/13/17 – DIIV “Oshin” (2012)

Oshin is DIIV’s debut I first heard when it came out, and since has been a staple album for me to put on when driving in the car or putting on at a party. DIIV is from Brooklyn, but they play a very west coast / Surf-Rock sounding Dream Pop. What really helps their near universal appeal is that the album is very lyrically sparse, and if/when they show up they are pretty impressionistic.The drums and bass are rich and fuzzy, while the guitars are kept bright and soft.  Singer Zachary Cole Smith blends into the guitars, singing just as soft. They’re a bit like if Real Estate took a more Shoegaze-y approach to their Pop music. It’s extremely chilled out music that is perfect for playing on a warm summer afternoon.

The opener (Druun) is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s a short little track but I love the bass and drum intro, the piano-like guitars, and how even to the end of the song they are piling on different instruments or solos. Given it’s length, it’s extremely compact and doesn’t waste any space, and you can say that about a lot of the songs on here. The sequel to that opener shows up much later- (Druun Pt II), another instrumental but now they’ve shifted gears into a higher energy, danceable groove. In between the two are some extremely chilled out and happy songs, and although the whole album is 13 songs, it’s only 40 minutes or so. Each song comes and goes, pleasantly shifting the mood slightly every time.

Oshin (Subsume) is far and away their best track, a telltale sign of their songwriting ability beyond ear candy. It’s louder and more dramatic than the rest of the album, as well as the best guitar riffs. Lyrically it’s apocalyptic, a rarity for this album, but it doesn’t break the chilled out atmosphere too much. It’s followed up by the energetic Doused, with Smith breathlessly rambling out his lines like a Punk singer. They pull it way back for the closer Home, an absolutely dreamy end to this album. Oshin isn’t some ground breaking, challenging, genre defining piece- it’s just a completely solid and loveable album.  Like I said in my intro, this is one of my go to albums for when I want to put on something chill that won’t bug anyone in the room. On your own it’s still a great album to listen to while driving down the highway, or just simple relaxation.