DIIV – Oshin
New York band DIIV’s debut LP Oshin may have captured the sound of 2012 in its most perfect form yet, a crystallization of what exciting young artists like Grimes and War On Drugs are moving towards. Oshin is 13 beautiful songs that will be receiving praise for years to come, in an era where rock bands seem derivative and sloppy DIIV have fused all that’s great about rock and roll with all that’s interesting about electronic music.
The breadth of influence alone is impressive but the quality and clear care with which the music has been made is one of true class, Oshin contains hints of Joy Division, German Krautrock band Neu along with 80’s synth group This Mortal coil and all alongside a distinctive How To Dress Well melancholy. Despite all these deeply interesting influences the music-strangely, sounds like none of them in particular and therein lies Oshin’s strength, it sounds like everything you’ve heard before but new.
From the kick off of first track ‘(Druun)’s throbbing baseline and glittering dream pop sound the albums intentions to escort you from whatever your doing are clear, the 80’s drums and shimmering guitars give of a feeling reminiscent of listening to 80’s band Felt, the track is only a short instrumental but its effect is quite jarring. ‘(Druun)’s simplistic beauty sets the tone for Oshin, ‘Past Lives’ and ‘Human’ deliver the same woozy beauty all backed by a tight groove of bass and drums.
It is only when ‘Air Conditioning’ drops when DIIV decide to change tact and their Krautrock side takes precedence, the song begins with a more direct driving beat, giving room for the guitars to experiment more, different layers give the song a depth and some reverb swathed vocals bring in 60’s psychadelia to the melting pot that it already is.
DIIV is primarily the project of Zachary Cole Smith, guitarist with Beach Fossils and Oshin does sound like a window into the brain of an imaginative kid in his mid 20’s. Originally called Dive after the Nirvana song, Smith added 3 friends to create the current 4 piece; drummer Colby Hewitt also has a good pedigree formerly working with The Smith Westerns.
Oshin could be accused of dullness due to the groups sparing use of vocals, but in fact if the music is given time there is often more pleasure found in its lengthy instrumentals. Wisely the band leave beautiful tracks like ‘Follow’ and ‘Sometime’ relatively free of vocals, and when they do arrive they are so beautifully distorted they could almost be another instrument.
DIIV’s first effort is thrillingly complex, exciting and fresh leaving themselves with a large task come album two. For now though Oshin’s shimmering beauty will connect heavily with most who give it time, the bands music is fairly easy to get obsessive about. Come the end of the year don’t be surprised to see this album in most albums of the year lists.