DIIV – Frog In Boiling Water

Just as records from perceived or accepted gems of artists from the perspective, left or right, of “iconic” eras, surely DIIV’s albums, while a bit brash, edgy, bold, and...
DIIV : Frog In Boiling Water
8.5 Fantasy
DIIV : Frog In Boiling Water

Just as records from perceived or accepted gems of artists from the perspective, left or right, of “iconic” eras, surely DIIV’s albums, while a bit brash, edgy, bold, and polarizing, are also definitely intended as artsy, feel-good pop. Reading articles on “art-rock”, “post-punk”, and “indie” these days could and generally would lead one to see “art-pop” bands as revolutionary minds, with anti-societal or hippy mindsets.

DIIV is collectively so esoteric, with a catchy first release, and appealing song titles like “Oshin (Subsume)”, and most currently, tracks, “Brown Paper Bag”, “Frog in Boiling Water”, “Soulnet”, and “Everybody Out”. Even present in the sophomore release, “Is The Is Are”, “Out of Mind”, “Incarnate Devil, “Healthy Moon”, Dopamine”, “Bent (Rio’s Song)”, or “Waste of Breath” from Is The Is Are (QRO review). Finally, some recent performances show their truly appealingly authentic nature in “Live from Murmrr Theatre”, it was released a couple years back, and an interestingly named Murmrr Theatre, for an interesting band’s tracks.


 Now and then they have released EPs, Sometimes,/Human/,Geist, and Blankenship, as preludes to albums, but this collection of singles under the moniker Frog in Boiling Water is justly seen as special both in truly DIIV heart-felt approach and truly DIIV noise-rock sound.

Likeearlier shoegaze-y bands, and of course former band Beach Fossils, these cool but calm titles, are also inflammatories for colorful imagination or at worse points critique. Despite the emphasis on creativity, again they are colourful, like Beach Fossils is, Pitchfork’s absurd writings called them “traditional rock”, while acknowledging the song titles are misspelled intentionally and childlike sound, comes through DIIV’s ambient echoing guitars and rhythms, as the same “magazine” understands more correctly is unlike Beach Fossils slightly more nuanced and broad approach.

Hero’s interview describes them as a, paraphrasing founding member Smith here, “touring band primarily about freedom, but acknowledging the lifestyle costs something”. This is not about Beach Fossils comparisons or being part of really colorful indie bands. This is what indie wanted to be, a frog being freed like a frog ought to, in the way jazz is able to use odd words when it, however rarely does get music correct, plus animal metaphors in each, jazz-cats or rats, for example. Seriously it is correct to say a title or lyrics mean something always, and that could correctly be applied to any genres.

Finally, there is an interview where their process is explained for said albums, tracks, lyrics, titles, and performances, as they are composed. Seen in words from ClashMusic, “(on Oshin versus Is The Is Are), Not a comparison just in sheer length, but in its very nature.” Smith again is quoted as Smith is the link to Beach Fossils: “I wanted to give people a lot. And something really honest. Be really forthright, super transparent to people,” he says. “The first record was hiding a bit behind an image, behind a sound – the vocals being really textural, and a sort of ambient thing. I didn’t want it to be about me as a person. The lyrics were almost like universal truths, not personal.”  These are  working ideas behind the band as a whole .

So, with all that in mind, DIIV’s newest release is phenomenal and yes, a bit riotous, but it is in no way rebelling for the sake of rebelling. Frog in Boiling Water, and the websites or odd promotional videos that came from each songs’ title (available on social media links), see the most complete single “Soul-net” or best video “Brown Paper Bag” videos, and even weirder, in a good way, then weirder is “Everyone Out”, or lastly the best song, from a complexity of the instrumentation standpoint, “Frog in Boiling Water”, the title track. Even further while there is a wholesome aesthetic to this release, it also could use to stick through the rest, particularly “Raining on Your Pillow”, of the tracks with the same tenacity, while the authentic angsty and colorful sounds or vibes do continue.

It’s an issue of rewards there, and mostly DIIV delivers, from the titular “Somber the Drums”, which is close to the reverent ambience of “Frog in Boiling Water” itself to opening “In Amber” there, but then some like “Fender on the Freeway” and “Little Birds” there are more purely instrument based versus simple jamming of “Reflected” or “Brown Paper Bag”. “Brown Paper Bag” really does this, plus the line, “Do you ever feel like a Brown Paper Bag?”. The video image of said bag as well is moving in an angst-colored way following the trend.

Like it is, this release presents an ambient image, whether with words, sound, culture contrasts, comparisons, or videos, these numbers all have values, with really good aural angst, and plodding-drums. Frog in Boiling Water is like all other DIIV releases colorful, sad/happy, slaphappy, musical, poppy, and balanced in a bizarre, this time more industry-angst based, but still very particular way. A kaleidoscope-like-color. of purposeful angsts, and passionate dramas, see synthnets pre album website or any of these titles’ brilliant really song-length solos. Here DIIV is really also like only themselves, fittingly said with colorful angst and wording as everything they released.

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