DIIV – Is The Is Are (Captured Tracks, 2016)
Zachary Cole Smith has settled comfortably into his refined dream-pop sound and this both pushes and limits Is The Is Are. If this album was shorter, it’d be a spiritual escape into Smith’s heavy and dark melodies played by light, reverb and delay-soaked guitars. However, Is The Is Are is too indulgent; the album drones on for 17 songs that all sound similar. “Dopamine” serves as a catchy gem in an album without a clear progression. Each song is individually solid however: “Mire (Grant’s Song)” is another standout tune where Smith nails that dreamy, dark confusion he’s become known for. Even if Is The Is Are doesn’t explore new creative paths, it features enough to be worth a trip.
Trial Track: “Dopamine”