Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dick Diver : Melbourne, Florida

Inspired by disorientated travellers and trivia ‘Melbourne, Florida’ (Chapter Music) experiments with and enhances Dick Diver’s shimmering pop skills.  The band treads new turf by feeling out instinctively where to take these 12 new songs, searching for a more curious and enigmatic state in their music.  To create that atmosphere Dick Diver recorded this album in a large shed at Apollo Bay, Australia with Mikey Young – setting the scene to achieve a more far reaching sound than they’ve ever done before.  ‘Melbourne, Florida’ incorporates horns, synth, piano and pedal steel alongside the band’s core line up of; two guitarists (Rupert Edwards and Alistair McKay), a drummer (Steph Hughes) and bassist (Al Montfort).  

Since forming in 2008 Dick Diver have released ‘New Start Again’ and ‘Calendar Days’ earning them high praise from various worthy sources, so it’s no surprise to see the buzz around their third record for Chapter Music (Australia)/Trouble In Mind (US).  Literature also seems to be a draw for themes in Dick Diver’s songs, just look at how the band name is lifted from a Fitzgerald character in Tender Is The Night – this carries over fittingly to the first track on ‘Melbourne, Florida’ called ‘Waste The Alphabet’ which McKay wrote with poet Michael Farrell.  A heady pop track touched by bracing melodies you might associate with 90s era indie-rock, songsmith-ery doesn’t get more uplifting than this.  Flipping over ‘Competition’ cuts through with its cyclical synths and pastel-ed vocals, a highlight simply for how mesmerizing it is.  ‘Tearing The Posters Down’ is another banger, “Reading all in upper case / reading all the warning labels / and vaguely hoping they’ll be true / empty house / I can be true – tearing the posters down / from the walls” doubled vocals muse, as the song pushes on and goes up a gear it lets loose, it makes you want to let loose.  It could be the intoxicating harmonies or the repetition of “Tear the posters down” but it musters this reckless, carefree force in the song that makes it jump out on every listen of the album.   

‘Melbourne, Florida’ yields a naturalness and feistiness that makes it a lot of fun – maybe it’s in the way it’s made, it certainly feels like an album written by friends hanging out, not taking things too seriously, questioning everything along the way and in that informal approach created something really accomplished.  Dick Diver have followed their guts making this record and in doing so have harnessed their own distinct interpretation of pop music.  It’s this approach that makes Dick Diver an exciting band to watch out for – this is your alternative to today’s alternative music.

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