DIIV's Is The Is Are provides a very contemporary style of shoegaze full of guitars that spill out in reverberated shimmer and flange to create sonic waterfalls of feedback loops and echoes. Occasionally, on tracks like "Bent," some guitar subtly screams feedback in while a thumping bass and upbeat rhythm remain at the foreground. Full of wacky effects, the experimental creativity of production on this album creates an expansive, dreamy sound.
DIIV remains moody, in some ways damp with melancholy in their haziness, as lead instruments seem to flutter in and out of the oceanic wall of sound they create with their stacked instrumental layers of melody. Tracks like "Dopamine" and "Valentine" exemplify the ways in which DIIV can experiment with various sound effects as though it were a sixth sense.
Another equally important component of this album is the transformative and transcendent qualities each of the songs has. There is a great deal of upbeat progression, downward spirals, and bridges which can either whisper or explode at any given moment. Every song in this regard had an unexpected twist or turn which provided a genuine character to the experience.
There is something distant and dreamlike in the voice of Zachary Cole Smith, as he seems to go on introspective, drug-induced, spirals in tales of the fruitlessness of finding some sort of actualized self. These songs dwell on the lack of permanence in life and the sense of fleeting in a way that is remarkable. This album attempts and succeeds at exploring the beauty in banality, in immersion, in fatality, in cyclical thinking and the cycles. Not only musically, but conceptually, the album is a mental feedback loop whose growth continues into peaks of harmony.
For an unabashedly experimental sound, DIIV have shown their capacity to have an incredibly well organized, punchy, and exhilarating production value, which was central to experiencing this album full of all sorts of sensory experience and expression. Whether it be a slow descent into waves of harsh noise on tracks like "Mire," or upbeat repetitions with explosive choruses, Is The Is Are will take you on a ride into the ocean, into a dream, into epiphany, or into a psychedelic void.
DIIV's sound on this long-awaited album shows great sophistication and maturity in its sound, and as a band DIIV is sure to have broken all sorts of new ground through Is The Is Are. The sound is incredibly evolved, but has not lost a single remarkable quality compared to previous work.