A Review of DIIV’s “Is the Is Are”


If I disengage to the extent that Zachary has, this is lovely.

DIIV are more or less to dream pop/post-punk what Real Estate are to jangle pop.  Lots of pretty tones and atmosphere masking weak songwriting, a lack of new ideas, and an inability to present old ideas in a way that is interesting or fun.

I can appreciate that Zachary tries to incorporate new influences into his music, but ultimately, every time he begins to display some outside influence (krautrock, for example), he’ll dip his toes in just far enough to prove he doesn’t understand what he’s doing, then fall back on his laurels.  His vocals sound tired and disinterested throughout the unnecessarily long hour plus run time.  Not in a dreamy way, in a bored way.

Sky Ferreira is a guest vocalist on “Blue Boredom” (would’ve been a better title for the album than what we’ve got).  She tries to sound like Kim Gordon.  It makes me think that this record was supposed to be DIIV’s take on Daydream Nation, but that record was varied and engaging, and this is not.  Some songs are pretty good removed from the album (“Mire (Grant’s Song)”, “Under the Sun”), but everything just gets lost in a blur within context.

Serviceable as background music.  Aesthetically pleasing, but ultimately unsatisfying, like a cool looking retro t-shirt handed down to you by your brother that’d you’d love to wear if not for the poor fabric quality and all the suspicious stains on the inside (the part that would touch your body), so you just admire its appearance on the hanger.

(Click here to see rating)

“Mire (Grant’s Song)”:



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