Album Review

DIIV - Frog in Boiling Water

DIIV have entered into a second act both thrilling and thoughtful.

DIIV - Frog in Boiling Water

That this is only DIIV’s fourth record feels like some trick of the imagination. There is an epic feel to the story of the twelve years since they made their name with ‘Oshin’, a glittering exercise in taut, melodic indie rock. They have undergone several metamorphoses, all of them painful; frontman Zachary Cole Smith peered into the abyss on addiction-chronicling second LP ‘Is The Is Are’, only to have the abyss stare back into him in a manner that nearly engulfed him entirely. 2019’s response to that, ‘Deceiver’, was the murky, brooding sound of a band finding themselves again; the electrifying nature of its accompanying live shows suggested they had found a rare sweet spot between mesmeric shoegaze and crackling rock’n’roll. The pandemic nixed plans for a quick-fire follow-up, and instead, it took years of often torturously fruitless writing sessions to arrive at ‘Frog in Boiling Water’. The cliche-averse will be disappointed to hear that once again, in suffering for their art, the Brooklyn four-piece have produced something truly special. This is a real statement of a record, one that sees them forge ever further skyward in their pursuit of monolithic shoegaze (‘Brown Paper Bag’, ‘Somber the Drums’) while also exploring softer territory on tracks so thick with atmosphere that their queasy melodies gnaw at the marrow of your bones. The latter aspect both matches the album’s thematic content and, by centring Cole’s vocals, pushes it to the fore; as their playful rollout has suggested, ‘Frog in Boiling Water’ is a highly conceptual and quietly furious piece that sifts through the wreckage of post-truth politics with disarming incision. The extracurricular controversies that once defined them now firmly in the rear-view mirror, DIIV have entered into a second act both thrilling and thoughtful.

Tags: DIIV, Reviews, Album Reviews

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