From 2012’s Oshin to 2016’s Is the Is Are, DIIV have crafted an eclectic mix of euphoric tracks propelled by frenetic drums and layered guitars. Like an exuberant fantasy of the noisy and distorted, DIIV are a dreamy soul stuffed with endless charm. But being quite a whirlwind as they are, the band has had an eventful couple of years.
Despite their previous record Is the Is Are being about recovery, frontman Cole Smith acknowledged the fact that he didn’t truthfully buy-in. At the beginning of 2017, Zachary admitted himself to several different rehab facilities hoping to leave his struggles with addiction behind. In the meantime, the band’s former bassist Devin Perez was being replaced by Colin Caulfield after Perez was found posting sexist, racist and homophobic comments on 4Chan.
Symbolising the rebirth of DIIV, the band’s third studio album Deceiver is perhaps their most impeccable one to date. The album’s opening and second tracks ‘Horsehead’ and ‘Like Before You Were Born’ come off as a warming purr, reverb-bound yet heavenly. Unlike their usual fashion – despondent and gloomy – Deceiver seems to signal the light at the end of a dark tunnel. And it’s pleasantly refreshing and enthralling.
Influenced by the time Zachery had spent in rehab with other addicts, their first single ‘Skin Game’ examines the origins of pain. It dives deep into one’s personal, physical, emotional and even political experiences that are feeding into addiction.
Like adrenaline rushing through the bloodstream, DIIV’s ringing guitar riffs are insanely addictive and compelling as always. Not to mention Zachary’s faded vocals totally envelopes you – “I wanna be your doll. But I won’t be your dog anymore” – and sends heavy shivers down your body.
Following the idea of redemption, their second single ‘Taker’ is a reminder of taking responsibility for your own lies and their consequences. And their third single ‘Blankenship’ addresses climate change and the atrocities that coal mining companies are causing. It’s everything shoegaze and post-punk and mind-bending; as if it has had a full-on schizophrenic episode musically. From beginning to end, Deceiver satisfies every single cell of our body and appears to have offered enough adrenaline to last a lifetime.
Having known everyone from DIIV for over ten years, Zachary explained how he had to re-approach the band and repair their relationships after recovery. “It wasn’t restarting from a clean slate, but it was a new beginning. It took time – as it did with everybody else in my life – but we all grew together and learned how to communicate and collaborate”.
By channelling all the horrible interpersonal and intrapersonal crises into resurrection, Deceiver is without a doubt DIIV’s most healthy-sounding yet high-voltage album, marking their glorious return in 2019.