Occupying the corners between fuzzed-out shoegaze bliss and metallic catharsis, DIIV return with their best work yet. 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 producer Sonny Diperri, the band felt a certain confidence. It’s evident on first single Skin Game, which gallops forth on a clean guitar riff before unfolding into a hypnotic hook offset by an off-kilter rhythm and hummable solo. A trudging groove and wailing guitar punctuate a lulling apology on the magnetically melancholic Taker. Meanwhile, 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.
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