Show Review: Dick Diver @ The Mohawk (7/13)

The MohawkSome days you get to hit up a show, hope for huge attendance, and in the end, you’re just happy you got to be part of an intimate experience.  While I wish many more people loved Dick Diver as much as I do, I was glad I got to witness the band’s first Austin gig, and can only hope that as they travel across the States that they’re convinced to come back.

Read on for a few short words and photos by B. Gray.

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Show Preview: Dick Diver @ Mohawk (Tonight!)

dickdiverAre you a fan of great guitar pop? Fan of the ringing guitars coming from Australia? I know you are, which is all the reason you need to go to Mohawk tonight and check out Australia’s Dick Diver.  They’ve long been part of our favorite Aussie label, Chapter Music, and recently caught on with Trouble in Mind Records here in the States…so if you’re one of those folks that assigns worth to labels, then you can’t get better than that.  They’ll be touring behind the release of Melbourne, Florida, which is filled with excellent pop songs throughout, illustrating a huge step up in sound from Calendar Days. Also, they’ll be joined by Austin’s Jonly Bonly, who we’ve fawned over enough on these here pages.

New 7″ Coming from Dick Diver

artworks-000079121481-wi9lee-t500x500Australia’s Dick Diver have long been one of my secrets, but it seems that they’re getting their deserved accolades; it will only continue once people spend time listening to their latest single.  It’s the A-Side to their New Name Blues 7″, which is being released by Fruits and Flowers.  I think the guitar work on this track is some of their best, while the craftsmanship still revolves around their usage of male/female vocal interplay.  If you didn’t listen to their record, Calendar Days, which was on Chapter Music, then perhaps this will convince you where you went wrong.  Give a spin.

Dick Diver – Calendar Days

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

When you look at the history of modern music, it seems that the second album is always where bands make it or break it.  You can either slide into oblivion with a mediocre effort, or you can establish yourself as a mainstay with a certified hit.  Listening to Calendar Days, I think that Dick Diver is going the latter route, branching out from their already solid established sound into broader territory that’s supremely rewarding.

While their first album was filled with twinkling guitar pop, “Blue & That” opens the album with a different agenda.  There’s not even a guitar on this track; you’ll find a synthesized drum track and horns.  It’s a statement track, especially when considering it’s song placement.  Dick Diver is growing up, and with that, their sound aims to progress as well.  Still, the bright guitar pop isn’t gone completely, as you’ll notice in the following track, “Alice.”  For me, the guitar sound reigns supreme on this number from the get go.  It creates a swinging element that will have you smiling while you tap your toes.

It’s difficult to follow-up a statement track and a gem with another hit, but that’s just what happens on Calendar Days when the group hits their stride with the album’s title track.  Steph Hughes takes center stage here, bringing in a more innocent vocal to the realm.  Guitars twang and drums push the pace forward; I particularly like when the whole gang joins in to accompany Steph’s vocals.  It all leads you up to what I think is the definitive track from Dick Diver, “Water Damage.”  There’s a dueling guitar sound, stemming from some slide guitar and the group’s typical jangling bright guitar work.  You throw that in with a trading back and forth between male and female vocal parts, and it’d be hard for anyone not to fall for this number.  And, if you’re reading along, that’s 4 for 4; quite a feat.

There’s something about this album that allows you to really get lost in the music.  “Two Year Lease” is one of the tunes that I’ve found myself gravitating towards as I’ve listened more and more.  It’s probably the least musical track on the record, but I actually like that approach, as the trading vocal parts are really worthy of letting your heart (and ears) drift.  But in just a few tracks, you’ll get one of the more upbeat tunes from the record by way of “Bondi 98.” It’s got a guitar that rings brightly and the vocal delivery adds a purity to the guitar pop the band have created this go round.  It’s a casual jam, but in that casual cool sort of way that we’ve all come to find endearing.  These are just a few more of the great songs that fill up this entire record.

Sure, some might say that Calendar Days is a touch to unfocused, but I think that would be an unfair assertion.  Yes, the band are trying some new things out, and some new styles, but in doing so, they’re successful, which leaves the door wide open for future songwriting.  It’s clear after spending days with this album that Dick Diver can write great songs, so only time will tell just how far they will go.  One thing’s for sure, no matter what formula they choose to pursue (or all of the above), it’s going to be a joyous listen.

 

 

Dick Diver Winning Us Over

DICK-DIVER1-575x385Long have we supported the good folks over at Chapter Music in Australia, who brought us the great music of Twerps and The Crayon Fields.  One of their lesser-known acts has really been making huge leaps and bounds, as far as popularity goes: Dick Diver.  The group is about to release their new record Calendar Days from the label in March, and we’ve got one of those new tracks for you.  I dig the brightness of the twanging guitar, accompanied by spoken word interplay between the male and female vocalists.  It’s a casual track, reminiscent of the relaxed pop gems from other great bands in the label’s stable.  Always happy to hear anything from the CM; it’s never going to let us down.