DIIV ‘Deceiver’ music review: New York indie-rockers go grunge


The band sets aside their surf-rock style for a sense of nostalgia

Chris Gillett |

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Better known for their ambient soundscapes, New York indie-rockers DIIV have opted for a heavier, grungier sound on their third album Deceiver.

Opener Horsehead is a whirlwind of guitars. The almost-whispered vocals are drowned out by the wall of sound, setting the blueprint for the rest of the record.

Like Before You Were Born and For The Guilty both evoke a blend of early-90s shoegaze, frantically jumping between picked guitar harmonies and heavy onslaughts.

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DIIV have ditched their light, surf-rock stylings, replaced by an all-encompassing sense of nostalgia.

On Taker, frontman Zachary Cole-Smith openly takes responsibility for his past, singing, “You watched my lips make/The  promise I betrayed/The  years I lived in vain/Chasing the pain with pain”. This mesmerising assault of trudging guitars marks a more contemplative tone for the group as they come across at their most unified.

Blankenship is the clear stand-out though, as Cole takes aim at the former CEO of an energy corporation. It’s a timely climate protest song that stands up among the band’s best tracks, with lines like “The earth is ownerless/Children lead the cry/You sold them all away/With thirty years of lies”.

Just like these lyrics, Deceiver feels more pressing and resonant with each spin.