|Add Date:||2016-02-14|| ||Pull Date:||2016-04-17|| |
|Week Ending:||17 Apr||10 Apr||3 Apr||27 Mar||20 Mar||13 Mar||6 Mar||28 Feb|
DIIV’s sophomore release presents an immersive voyage into the mind of a tortured artist. The darkness and addiction that befell frontman Zachary Cole Smith in the aftermath of 2012’s Oshin are manifest sonically, separated by occasional moments of levity. Is the Is Are retains the distinctive guitar tone from Oshin but songs are longer and more complex, revealing darkly personal stories brimming beneath sparkling guitars. Although much of the album alludes to Cole’s struggles with drugs, some beautiful revelations of love nonetheless emerge, notably in “Under the Sun” and “Healthy Moon”. One of my favorites of the year already. RIYL Captured Tracks, twee krautrock-inspired guitar pop|
1. (3:08) Out of Mind — Chiming guitar, deep bassline. Typical DIIV hallmarks. Sunny guitar line that becomes more prominent occasionally. All guitar from 1:50 until the end, except for some very faint mumbling.
2. (3:47) Under the Sun — Euphoric, chiming, sunny guitars. Darker bridge at 2:18 with lyrics ruminating on the right side/right time. Positive and pure, this grooves. A song about early love.
3. (5:40) ***Bent (Roi’s Song) — Darker, heavier, shoegazey guitars punctuated at times by a brighter guitar line. Prominent bassline. Whispery, blue vocals. There’s this tangibly raw, visceral melancholy in the guitars. A tale told from rock-bottom.
4. (3:56) *****Dopamine — PLAY THIS. A reflection on substance abuse whose darkness is masked by propulsive drumming, sparkling guitars, and rushing, reverbed-out vocals. New guitar line comes in at 2:55. Whoaaaaaa.
5. (2:33) Blue Boredom (Sky’s Song) — FCC: “fuck”. Featuring Sky Ferreira’s blue ennui x deadpan delivery of beat poetry. Rushing, dark, wandering. Sounds like Sonic Youth.
6. (3:18) Valentine — Less reverb. Very faint woah-ahs in the background. Some of the more discernible lyrics. Alternates between Cole's vocals and faint guitar, and a solo guitar line. Fluttering, floral guitar line at 1:32.
7. (3:19) *Yr Not Far — Similar structure to Valentine. Gorgeous, magenta guitar line and fast drumming. Languorous vocals. One of the more guitar-centric tracks on the record. New guitar line at 2:41 with some deeper bass as well; ascending guitar at the conclusion.
8. (4:58) ***Take Your Time — Melancholic guitar, deep bassline. Second guitar line is brighter and complements the first one nicely. Reminds me inexplicably of Tamaryn. Last two and a half minutes are all beautiful, meandering experimental passages with the guitar.
9. (3:09) Is the Is Are — Mostly vocal-centric with propulsive drumming and nature sounds. Lots of reverb. Cool quieter passage at 1:22, with Cole repeating “life” softly over gently fingerpicked guitar which gradually becomes louder.
10. (5:35) *****Mire (Grant’s Song) — Dark, anguished, bleeding guitars. Pure pain. New, scorching guitar line at 2:30 over Cole’s wails. Hushed vocals; “I was blind but now I see”. Hooooooly shit this new guitar line at 3:50. Drop everything and listen to this.
11. (4:43) Incarnate Devil — Reminds me of Protomartyr a bit. Anthemic. Wanders through a myriad of passages with new variations on the guitar. Last two minutes are solid headbanging territory. I can feel the indie mosh pit forming.
12. (0:17) (Fuck) — 17-second instrumental before the final stretch.
13. (4:12) Healthy Moon — FCC: “fuck”. Some nice piano cuts and meandering, ethereal guitar, shuffling drums. Concludes with a piano outro and descending guitars. My personal favorite on the album.
14. (3:13) **Loose Ends — Similar compositionally to songs on Oshin. The “Past Lives” of this album. Solid jam.
15. (1:44) (Napa) — Noise. Dominant bassline. The sonic equivalent of wine-red. Lyrics mainly “in your eyes” repeatedly.
16. (4:34) Dust — FCC: “fuck”. This song has been floating around live and on the Internet for ages. Like the more driving counterpart to Mire (Grant’s Song). Screeching, furious guitars. Steadily amps up the reverb and noise.
17. (5:23) ***Waste of Breath — Contemplative, restrained guitars at the start, musings on how it’s “no good to be a waste of breath”. Plodding, feedback-drenched guitars come in at 2:18, followed by a new, distressed guitar line. Returns to its original restraint in the last minute. Fantastic closer.