Is This Are

'Is This Are' by DIIV, album review

Our Rating


DIIV’s follow up to their 2012 debut album is set to release on Friday, February 5th. The album is being released via Captured Tracks, and is titled Is The Is Are. The record has been a long time coming, after nearly four years without any new material. The lead single from the sophomore album, “Dopamine”, released digitally last year. Captured Tracks made the record available for streaming on their SoundCloud, which you can listen to below:

The album fits pretty consistently within DIIV’s niche, and the familiarity of it is unmistakable. This isn’t by any means a bad thing, however. This signature sound is the reason we love DIIV. The vibes are grunge and mellow, they’re sleek and attractive. There is also a dreary occupation in the songs, which is a clear reflection of frontman Zachary Cole Smith’s recent life. He has created an honest channeling of all the energy and tumultuous events that have occurred in the past few years, in both the tone and lyrics. He was arrested in the fall of 2013 with his girlfriend, singer Sky Ferreira. They were arrested in New York, and charged with drug possession amongst other things. His relationship with Sky, as well as his issues with drug abuse has a presence in the sophomore album.

He spoke about his addiction by saying “I’ve just always been the kind of person that you can’t say to me, ’That stove is too hot. Don’t touch it.’ I have to just touch it and figure out how hot it is — you know, hold my hand just above it or touch it with my little finger. I always have to push my limits. So all the sudden there’s this drug that enters the scene that’s this ultimate forbidden thing, and that makes it the most tempting thing around. I’ve always struggled with various addictions throughout my life.”

Is The Is Are exposes itself as a more honest album than the debut, because of all the crazy dark waves Smith has spent his time crashing against. He sings on the title track ““The last time I walked down this street I wanted to die; now I feel like I’m fighting for my life.” The album is bleak and gloomy, but it’s wrapped in peaceful indie-pop guitar fuzz. There’s a certain anxiety to the lyrics that is juxtaposed by the harmonious environment of the sounds.

Review by Eric Stevens