Unpopular Advent 2015 - Day 16: Dick Diver - 'Melbourne, Florida'
Three years ago I penned a remarkably succinct entry for day 20 of that year’s advent series. It was for Dick Diver’s ‘Calendar Days’ set and the words suggested that in it’s grooves one could hear "the tendrils of Lucksmiths, Go-Betweens, Triffids”. With their ‘Melbourne, Florida’ set of 2015 one could maybe just about still hear echoes of those references but only just, and only if you tilted your head to one side and squinted just so. This, I should hasten to add, is not a criticism.
‘Melbourne, Florida’ is stylistically somewhat all over the shop, and marvellously so. Where ‘Calendar Days’ presented a cohesive visage, this set is wilfully playful: A face pulling an array of faces, each as splendidly complete and convincing as the last. The sounds are harder, stronger and manifestly more robust than before. More Snapper than The Clean, for example (and if you need that example - I understand that Dick Diver themselves are averse to comparisons to The Clean, which seems unfathomable to me but then I’m not a musician trying to establish my own signature, so what the hell do I know?), particularly on the very brilliant ‘Competition’. All nasty synth buzzsaw and motorik drive, it is my default ‘go-to’ song on this record. Other cuts are every bit as fine, if every bit as different: Opener ‘Waste The Alphabet’ is all Feelies meets Sneaky Feelings in a dusty garage; ‘Tearing The Posters Down’ is tequila fuelled loneliness and frustration; closer ‘View From A Shaky Ladder’ is one of Lou Reed’s acoustic ballads filtering in on the sunrise (and where Steph Hughes really does sound astonishingly close to Triffids’ Jill Birt).
‘Melbourne, Florida’ shows Dick Diver to be a group growing ever more confident in their abilities to make something intriguingly individual from their chosen sources. I’m excited to hear what they come up with next.