DIIV live at Brooklyn Bowl
- By Hazel Sheffield -
- May 28, 2012
Brooklyn four-piece DIIV used to be called Dive, after the Nirvana song, but changed their minds about the spelling at the beginning of the month. “We’ve outgrown the name and it’s associations,” singer Zachary Cole Smith told Pitchfork, meaning DIIV must be growing fast – there are but two excellent songs circulating from their debut album, which isn’t set for release until next month, via Captured Tracks. (He neglects to mention that the new name will make DIIV infinitely more googlable.)
There’s still plenty to suggest that Cole Smith is still channeling Cobain, not least a recent DIIV cover of Cobain’s home demo ‘Bambi Slaughter’. It shows DIIV’s expert weaving of taut motorik beats and dense guitars for a brooding reinvention of Cobain’s original.
Then there’s Cole Smith’s peroxide mop of hair, which he flicked on the off-beats during DIIV’s biggest gig yet at Brooklyn Bowl. Hype Machine hosted the night, with blog royalty Consequence of Sound, Stereogum, I Guess I’m Floating and Gorilla Vs. Bear curating sets from Killer Mike, High Highs, Beat Culture and a DJ set from Awesome Tapes From Africa.
DIIV headlined, and took the opportunity to showcase the new album, ‘Oshin’, revealing it to be something of an album of two halves. The best bits reside in heady My Bloody Valentine territory and the gloom of early nineties Seattle, pushed on by a metronomic pulse. The rest grazes on British indie influences from the 80s, influences which bleed into the baggy trousers and constant twirling of Cole Smith and guitarist Andrew Bailey. Bassist Devin Ruben Perez was static to the point of weird, his long curly hair hanging right over his face for the duration.
Much of the material off ‘Oshin’ had never been played live before, resulting in false starts and some stuttering transitions – notably on ‘Earthboy’. ‘Fire’ began slow and burst into infectious jangly guitars, while the well-played gait of ‘How Long Have You Known?’ was missing the bite afforded by excellent production on record. Most of Cole Smith’s vocals reverberated to abstraction – which made ‘Sometime’ seem especially whimsical and lacking in originality.
But it was the bass rumble of ‘Doused’, and its haunting arpeggio picking, that saw DIIV’s gamut of influences come together to create something altogether thrilling.
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