20th November 2012
The Deaf Institute has spent the five or so years since its opening acting, in effect, as Manchester’s portal to the blogosphere; it’s served as a base of sorts for the city’s hottest promoters in Now Wave, and accordingly has seen a long procession of buzz bands pass through its doors. It’s hardly surprising, then, to see DIIV make their Mancunian debut here; they’ve managed to slot in a slew of their own shows around a support slot with The Vaccines who, to their credit, are clearly capable of appreciating interesting music if not making it.
DIIV (pronounced ‘Dive’) already have impressive indie pedigree; drummer Colby Hewitt is formerly of Smith Westerns, and singer-songwriter Zachary Cole Smith began working on this project whilst a touring guitarist with Beach Fossils, culminating in Oshin, released back in June. Tonight’s show is an out-of-order run-through of a record that’s already starting to appear on a host of end-of-year album lists, and its translation to the live arena enthrals and surprises in equal measure. On record, Oshin weaves layer after layer of melodic guitar to create gorgeous dream-pop textures, with distant, distorted vocals floated over the top to impressive effect.
The effect of chopping and changing between instrumental and vocal-heavy tracks on Oshin is subtle on the album, but live, the results are far more pronounced; the vocally-light likes of ‘(Druun)’ and ‘Air Conditioning’ are as quietly mesmerising as their recorded counterparts, but the heavier material is a revelation; the guitars sound that much fiercer, and the vocals pack that much more bite, on the faster, more driven likes of ‘Doused’ and ‘How Long Have You Known’. DIIV took their name from a Nirvana song, and it’s an influence far more obvious on stage than in the studio; the noisier jams from Oshin manage to be at once hypnotic and thrilling. With only one LP under their belts, it is of course all over much too quickly, but with no lack of promise for what next time might hold. A revelatory debut.