Single Review: DIIV - "Dopamine"

DIIV - "Dopamine"
(2015 Captured Tracks)

Though only three years have passed since the release of DIIV's much-anticipated freshman effort, Oshin, I feel as if I'm witnessing the band's resurrection. Though in the realm of music, a couple of years is by no means a great stretch of time, that time span between the band's full-length debut and the surprisingly quiet unveiling of "Dopamine" marks a signifigant epoch in the lives of both myself and frontman Zachary Cole Smith. For me, these three years have been pivotal in my own character development. Post-Oshin, I've entered college, felt more confident in my own opinions regarding art and have begun to feel like a truly independent person. It's as if DIIV's first two LPs act as rough bookends for my entry into teenagerdom and exit into adulthood. For Smith, the span has been a much more tumultuous period, but no less transformative. Since 2012, he's written and scrapped over 100 songs, faced conflict with multiple band members as well as an arrest in late 2013. Though new songs were often added to and/or dropped from the band's live setlist - like any dedictated member of DIIV's cult-like fanbase, I check regularly to see if any new live footage has been uploaded to Youtube - I felt as if the sequel to Oshin would never come. Even when I finally got the chance to catch a DIIV set in late 2014 at a Lexington Urban Outfitters, it felt more like I was attending a farewell tour, despite the wealth of new material on display.

At the tail end of this three year wait, "Dopamine" feels a bit anticlimatic, yet it is wholly satisfying, the sort of tune that doesn't grab your attention on your first listen, but worms its way into your subconscious, becoming a regular fixture on morning busrides and walks between classes. It's as beautiful as anything the Brooklyn krautrock quartet has dropped to date, cozily wrapped in buttery reverb and propelled by distant motorik percussion. Centered around a hypnotically repetitious lead guitar riff, "Dopamine" slowly gathers noise and distortion, building up to a triumphant burst of shoegazey fuzz in the outro, a satisfying conclusion to my ascent into adulthood.