Arts and Entertainment

DIIV – Deceiver Review

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Frontman Cole Smith

DIIV, the LA based Dream-Pop/Shoegazers fronted by Zachary Cole Smith have returned after two straight years of touring and a one-year hiatus and my god, have they made a comeback.

Their new record, entitled Deceiver came out on October 4, and after living with it for a month I have to say I’m not disappointed in the slightest, and even that is an understatement. Even despite the major change in style, it still has remnants of their signature sound of skippy, jangle-y and interplaying riffing guitars. However, they added a new piece to all of this, heavy and wailing guitars, all with Smiths use of his vibrato arm adds a nice piece of real time modulation.

Now, this album is heavy, not just in sound but subject matter. Smith has been struggling with addiction, and this isn’t some sort of shrouded gossip, it’s been publicized. He has been arrested for heroin possession, the band has canceled international tours, and scrapped entire albums worth of material because it wasn’t up to snuff due to the drugged-out nature.

But after a year hiatus and Smith’s successful stint in inpatient rehabilitation, not forced rehab but he made the decision to go (that’s a very important detail), and now he’s better than ever. “Definitely the most positive and healthy place you’ve been in the whole time” said band mate Colin Caulfield in an interview with NME.

Cole has stated that this album is about catharsis, and recovery of not only self but of personal relationships too, and that is something that makes this album incredible. This idea of personal growth is laden through this album. In the track “Like Before You Were Born” Smith references being done with his past life and making mistakes at inopportune moments.

“We plummet through the wake
Well, that’s my last mistake”

“I’m an old man
I tell that same old sun
I get it, I’ve done it, I’m done”

Cover art for Deceiver

This is a solid release and beautiful in ways that aren’t normally considered “beautiful” and I have to say it doesn’t quite live up to their prior record, Is the Is Are, but in an entirely different way, it’s better. All in all, I still see it as one of the best albums of the year: 9.1/10

About Samuel Wulfekotter

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