Oshin (10th Anniversary Reissue)
Sep 13, 2022
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since DIIV’s debut LP, Oshin, was released on Captured Tracks in 2012. After a year of playing local shows in Brooklyn and relentless touring (opening for notables such as Best Coast, labelmates Wild Nothing, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Japandroids, to name a few) and the release of three 7-inches as Dive (with only “Sometime” from those 7-inches appearing on the album, for which they altered their name), this took the indie-rock world by storm with praise ranging from the usual sources such as Pitchfork (which gave it its then vaunted “Best New Music” designation) to members of Blink-182 extolling the album.
Coming on like a mix of The Chameleons (especially some of the delay and reverb effects), early ’80s Cure, and other left-field influences such as then contemporary African artists like Baba Salah or Amadou and Miriam, all of the instruments here except drums on several tracks (which are played by Ben Wolf) are played by leader Zachary Cole Smith, who also handles the hushed, ethereal, dream-pop like vocals here. As such, the album still has the raw, unhurried feel of someone making their first solo record (though Smith had been in other bands, such as labelmates Beach Fossils before this).
For its 10th anniversary, the album has been lovingly repressed on blue marble (to replicate the very hard to find original pressing which was available at shows back then), packaged in a thick cardboard box, accompanied by a color booklet and poster with notes from Smith himself, and given an additional LP of the album’s demos as a bonus disc. While these demos were previously released on the band’s Bandcamp site, it’s nice to hear them in a physical format even if they won’t receive nearly as many plays as the main album. Though not nearly as moving, it’s interesting to hear these songs in skeletal form as they hew closer to the sound of their early 7-inches as the Nirvana-inspired Dive, when they were combining elements of sludge and noise-rock into their dream-pop. (www.diiv.net)
Author rating: 8/10