Review Of Oshin By DIIV

Artist: DIIV
Album: Oshin
Label: Captured Tracks
Rating: 8.0

So it’s been almost a year, and almost every band I’ve reviewed for this website has had a name that either is not a word, or is funky spelling of a word. I think I may be starting to come around though because when I look at the potential names for this album, DIIV-Oshin looks a lot cooler that Dive-Ocean right? It helps that I actually dig the debut album from this Brooklyn dream pop group. Even though it’s got two words that I like “dream” and “pop”, that doesn’t inherently mean I’m going to like it. At its worst dream pop can be vacant and dull with no substance, but DIIV have managed to create a wonderful atmospheric soundscape.

Apparently there was another band from Germany that was called Dive that prompted Zachary Cole Smith, the brains behind the project, to alter the name. For him the project started as a bedroom labour of love, which has now evolved into the release of an album.There’s probably never been a better time for “Garage Kubricks” than today. The term refers to young artists that toil away at their craft in a safe sanctuary with no pressure and their only drive is to just get better at what they’re doing and have fun. The technology is there that you can make a movie, record an album, create whatever kind of art you want, and release it whenever you’re ready, making sure that it’s good when it is. That’s good for us as consumers of this art because we don’t want to waste our time listening to shitty music, so we’ll happily devour this album no matter what the background is. Sure DIIV will have challenges if this project is going to evolve into multiple albums, but that’s their problem not ours. Oshin hits the mark on track after track with their Cure inspired guitar riffs. Each song evolves off the next, as opposed to being derivatives of each other which is a major flaw with young dream pop bands. Zachary is also mature enough as a songwriter to realize when the song doesn’t need vocals, so that when we get to a song like “How Long Have You Known”, the first single on the album we can appreciate the chorus more without being bogged down by it, because all the sounds including the vocals are so similar.

Smith has stated that everyone in band is an astrological water sign which makes DIIV an appropriate band name, and apparently Oshin a good album title as well. So even though DIIV isn’t a scientifically accurate project, they have set up an emotionally psychological structure that works. A good summer soundtrack for the beach, or probably better for your dreams of the ocean.

-Michael Unger

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