Occupying the corners between fuzzed-out shoegaze bliss, troubadour
poetry, and metallic catharsis, DIIV -- Zachary Cole Smith [lead vocals,
guitar], Andrew Bailey [guitar], Colin Caulfield [vocals, bass], and Ben
Newman [drums] -- personally inhabit the recesses of their third full-
length album, Deceiver. A whirlwind brought DIIV here.
On the heels of 2012's Oshin, the group delivered the critical and fan fa-
vorite Is the Is Are in 2016. Praise came from The Guardian, Spin, Rolling
Stone and more. Pitchfork's audience voted Is the Is Are one of the Top
50 Albums of 2016, as the outlet dubbed it "gorgeous." Simultaneously,
frontman Zachary Cole Smith faced down seemingly dormant demons,
and the momentum stalled.
Two years after embarking on a program of recovery, Smith has emerged
with a clear head and renewed focus. For the first time, DIIV lived with
songs on the road. During a 2018 tour with Deafheaven, they performed
eight new compositions as the bulk of the set. The tunes progressed as
the players did. By the time DIIV entered 64 Sound to record with pro-
ducer Sonny Diperri, the band felt a certain confidence.
It's evident on first single "Skin Game," which gallops forth on a clean gui-
tar riff before unfolding into a hypnotic hook offset by an off-kilter rhythm
and hummable solo. "Being a recovering addict myself," he says, "there
are a lot of questions like, 'Who are we? What is this disease?' 'Skin Game'
looks at where the pain comes from - the personal, physical, emotional,
and broader political experiences feeding into the cycle of addiction for
millions of us."
A trudging groove and wailing guitar punctuate a lulling apology on the
magnetically melancholic "Taker." For Smith, it's "about taking responsi-
bility for your lies, their consequences, and the entire experience." Mean-
while, the ominous bass line and crawling beat of "Blankenship" devolve
into schizophrenic string bends with the vitriolic lyrics. The seven-minute
"Acheron" offers a dynamic denouement, flowing through a hulking beat
guided under gusts of lyrical fretwork and a distorted heavy apotheosis.