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[album review] DIIV // Oshin

The dream-pop genre has certainly become saturated these days, making it more necessary for new bands to become inventive when attempting to tackle the sound. DIIV, the solo project of Zachary Cole Smith, has a jumpstart on other acts. He has been playing guitar in one of more more notable acts of the genre, Beach Fossils, and is thoroughly familiar with what it takes to build the hypnotic and ethereal elements that mold the dream landscapes.

Turning the reverb on the guitar and vocals to 11, Smith has created an album that is unique enough to immediately grab hold of your consciousness and guide it through each of his scenes. Setting the mood with instrumentals titled, “(Druun),” DIIV’s Oshin is similar to other dream-pop albums in that it’s a mood record. The reverberated streams and incoherent echoed vocals induce deep stupors that are difficult to emerge from, but that’s okay. From “(Druun)” into “Past Lives,” and on through part two of “(Druun),” Smith doesn’t change too much in his M.O. aside from speeding up the tempo from time to time. The weird thing is, this seems like monotony, yet I can’t not listen. And that’s the beauty of Oshin. In all of its repetitiveness and similarity to other dream-pop records, Smith has mastered a formula that creates a stranglehold on one’s attention.

[mp3] DIIV // How Long Have You Known?

I liken this effect to why I enjoyed Craft Spells’ Idle Labor, Wild Nothing’s Gemini, and of course, Beach Fossils’ albums–the songs are catchy, aesthetically pleasing to the ears, and enjoyable to listen to multiple times. On Oshin, the album runs a bit long, with the monotony kicking in at around “Sometime” or “Doused.” It’s not the songs in particular that cause me to stop listening, but I’ve noticed that when I feel it’s time to switch albums, that those are the numbers I’m stopping on–a sign that my attention span could’ve used a couple of tracks cut. But that’s an unfair assessment to what Smith has created on Oshin–a complete album that expands upon his work with Beach Fossils in a way that’s more fantastical and imaginary. Difficult to do in such a crowded and clone-like genre, but Smith pulls it off with DIIV on Oshin.

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