Like skeins of lightning ripping through clouds and striking a body of water, DIIV’s “Dopamine” is precisely, quietly explosive.
Much like the dreamy, krautrock influenced songs off their excellent 2012 debut, Oshin, “Dopamine”—their first single since that release—softens a repetitive, motorik drum beat and pointy, angular guitar phrases with the gauze of space and reverb. Though lead singer Zachary Cole Smith’s vocals have never been this pronounced, the source of this song’s renewed urgency is borne from lyrical self immolation: “Passing out, running in place, you’re the sun and I am your cloud / Burning out, running in place, I got so high, I finally felt like, myself.”
After three years of setbacks that included kicking a heroine addiction, being arrested, dealing with a bandmate’s 4chan scandal, and the intense media scrutiny that surrounded all of those things, “Dopamine” feels like a purge. This is Smith visualizing and compartmentalizing the tumultuous hurricane that has been the last few years of his life. And, just like a kid counting the number of seconds in between lighting and thunder, I can’t help but wonder how big the rest of the album will sound.
DIIV’s sophomore album, a triumphant return after many setbacks, is slated to drop in October. And if you have never listened to their debut album, do yourself a favor and check it out below.