Having experienced troubles with drugs Smith spent a brief time in rehab where he wrote 150 songs by July 2015. Whittling these down to - a still pretty hefty - 17, these tracks formed the album Is The Is Are. The record is a hazy, slack-sounding yet polished adventure that became familiar to me after just one listen. Recalling a more upbeat and dare I say, less twee Real Estate, DIIV uses the jangling layered tones and gauzy vocals that have come to epitomize Brooklyn’s Indie Rock scene. They managed to keep their heads above this soup of indie-rock-pop with a motorik edge that is associated with self-professed idols Neu and Can.
The music itself masks a certain degree of controversy, tangled in both drug use and other murky allegations. The band are also no strangers to being harangued for their almost caricature ‘cool kid’ aesthetic, with billowing trousers, waif like expressions and terrible-on-most haircuts but they manage to take it in their stride. This latter – aesthetic distraction does little to tarnish the fact that the upbeat drawl of their music is pretty difficult not to like, with swinging bass lines and refreshing, memorable melodies.
DIIV play Belgrave Music Hall on the 22nd March.