DIIV Is the Is Are Captured Tracks
There’ll be a lot of questions asked about DIIV’s second album. For one, why did it take four years to arrive? For another, why is it a double album? In the case of the former, the Brooklyn band have been on the brink of collapse: drummer Colby Hewitt left the band due to his rumoured struggles with addiction, and frontman Zachary Cole Smith was arrested alongside girlfriend Sky Ferreira in late 2013 and charged with heroin possession. To make matters even worse, there was the ugly scandal of bassist Devin Ruben Perez making highly problematic comments on a 4Chan message board.
The second question, concerning the album’s length, isn’t nearly as easy to answer. Certainly the 63 minutes of music spread across 17 tracks do little to justify such self-indulgence. What’s really frustrating though is that the opening four-track salvo belies the rest of the album’s weakness. Out of Mind possesses all the pretty indie pop charm of debut album Oshin. Under the Sun aches of longing, pairing scorching guitars with a melancholic bassline and Smith’s lovelorn sighs. Lead single Dopamine is great too. Pretty soon though, Is the Is Are succumbs to the perennial undoing of most double albums – too much filler. The album is padded out with many throwaway tracks, and considering DIIV’s raucous movement on stage and Smith’s habit of inviting comparison between himself and Kurt Cobain, it’s bizarre that DIIV’s music never quite elevates beyond the level of pleasant, but inoffensive dream pop. Too indistinct to leave a lasting mark, this much-hyped second album risks getting lost in the mire.