Record review: Dick Diver – Calendar Days (2013, LP)

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There’s something so charmingly unassuming about Melbourne quartet Dick Diver that makes you think that catching them indulging in clichéd rock star behaviour is about as likely as One Direction turning punk. Their 2011 debut New Start Again was an appealing collection of lo-fi indie slacker fuzz, and while second effort Calendar Days is a more polished affair, it retains all the salt-of-the-earth appeal of its predecessor.

Single ‘Alice’ is the perfect example of everything the band are about; it’s the sound of four people making perfectly sunny indie Australiana, without seeming to be really trying. “I get out of bed and get my toast to the perfect shade of gold,” sets the scene perfectly as the first line, and the breezy slices of guitar pop roll by in a haze from there.

Alistair McKay and Rupert Edwards provide the bulk of the vocals, but when drummer Steph Hughes – who also beats the skins in Boomgates – takes to the mic, the charm of the album is cranked up several notches, as on the title track.

It’s not all catchy sweetness; the brooding crawl of ‘Boys’ provides a stark contrast to what comes before, as a tale of broken friendship is sung over a creeping bass line and mournful guitar.

Later highlights include the beautifully lilting ‘Gap Life’ and up-tempo ‘Bondi 98’, which sees Hughes getting heavy behind the kit and providing tasteful harmonies throughout, before closer ‘Languages of Love’ proves that the band can sometimes find themselves on the wrong side of the fine line between charming and awkward.

Dick Diver aren’t the type of band to be embarking on an arena tour any time soon; their music is best listened to in a gloomy bedroom as you put on your favourite winter jumper and make another cup of tea – and that’s the way we’d like to keep it, thank you very much. (Chapter Music)

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