If you’re a Spotify user, you can now stream a new single from Diiv's upcoming album Is The Is Are, out in February of next year. The new track, released November 4, is called “Bent (Roi’s Song),” and it’s the second cut from the upcoming album they’ve released.
Diiv's 2012 album Oshin was good but ultimately didn’t blow me away. Filled with glittery, new wavey guitars and some very 80’s drum machine beats, it seemed to be more a tribute to the band’s sources of inspiration than an original work. They were reminiscing along with Yuck and Silversun Pickups, trying to master an old sound. With the two new singles released this year, it seems that they’ve gotten what they can from the old genre and are now building on it.
The first single, “Dopamine,” is a lovely teaser of the new direction that they seem to be heading in, with a distinctly shoegazey sound that I’m very into. They’ve jumped forward a decade and ditched the flat-sounding drum machines, buried the vocals down in the mix like true My Bloody Valentine followers, and have put their very tasty guitar licks front and center, where they belong. “Bent (Roi’s Song)” is in the same vein, clocking in at almost six minutes of fuzzy tremolo and muttered vocal melodies that ditch the soaked-in-reverbness of Oshin. It’s a wall of sound with a heart.
Both of the new tracks touch on frontman Zachary Cole Smith’s struggles with substance abuse and attempting to find a path to sobriety. 2013 saw him and Sky Ferreira (who’s featured on the upcoming album) arrested in New York for possession of illegal substances. “Dopamine” especially feels like a hazy, drug-induced stupor, with the repeated refrain of “I got so high I finally felt like myself,” and ending with a frightening question: “Would you give your 34th year/for a glimpse of heaven, now and here?” On the day of “Bent”’s release, Cole made a statement on the band’s Tumblr in which he said that “roi’s song is about a lot of people, including myself, and our struggles along the path to clarity, sanity, and sobriety.” On the track he details the day-to-day struggles of fighting addiction, singing: “Fought my mind to keep my life, but my body’s putting up a tougher fight.”
Thankfully, things seem to be taking an upward turn for Cole both personally and musically these days. You can stream “Bent” on Spotify or on YouTube, and you can get the new album Is the Is Are on February 5 from Captured Tracks.