EP REVIEW: Diving | Synesthesia

by Chris Familton

divingStar Rating DS 3Some bands sound like their names and in the case of Wellington duo Diving their chosen moniker makes sense as the point where you hit the water and enter a submerged world and an altered state. Your vision is altered, your ears hear things differently as sounds are filtered aquatically and the world on the surface feels like a distant place.

Diving’s modus operandi is post-rock, often instrumental music that doesn’t adhere to traditional song structures, though these are songs, particularly Entropy the second of the four tracks on their debut EP. Tension is sustained and released, not unlike the rise and fall of waves where the patterns are punctuated by large peaks and deeper troughs. Its first four minutes sounds like the distant echo of Bailter Space but then things fragment and the music’s field of vision widens before more traditional rock shapes re-enter the fray and the central cascading riff drops heavily and repeatedly. It is an interesting angle that the pair have taken when they could have easily settled for the quiet /loud dynamics where bands try too hard to exploit those extremes and end up sounding cliched.

Diving have balanced their approach to their music, playing with both structure and some of the key signifiers of shoegaze and drone music via screes of effect-laden guitar, krautrock rhythms and plenty of momentum. Hypervoid has a great feel to it courtesy of Nick Erickson’s guitar textures but it doesn’t feel fully realised, wandering in its tentativeness like a practice room jam searching for a focal point. They make up for that misstep with the EP’s closing track, a wonderfully immersive piece called Synthstrom that is heavily indebted to Tortoise with its jazzy patterns and circling guitar shapes that build a swirling mood before things turn nasty courtesy of a snarling wah pedal. They must have been tempted to really stretch and cut loose but they don’t, instead they pull back again, controlling the mood rather than exploding it.

Too often two piece bands betray their numbers by sounding skeletal and with something missing sonically. Diving negate that completely making the duo aspect irrelevant and though an EP doesn’t give enough time to get fully immersed in their sound it introduces them as an exciting new duo who can hopefully expand on what they have created with Synesthesia and produce a great full length album.

Synesthesia is available now on BANDCAMP

this review was first published on undertheradar

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