Dick Diver – Calendar Days album review

Building off of the momentum they gathered following their first album release, the Melbourne-based foursome Dick Diver are out with new material. While stylistically similar to New Start Again (Dick Diver’s debut album), the band’s sophomore LP features complexities and added texture that demonstrate a broader range of talent and greater depth than did their previous work.

Calendar Days still features the same catchy, relaxed guitar melodies and steady drum beats that give Dick Diver’s music a charming 90’s indie rock quality, but also includes a variety of devices that add layers to the compositions. “Blue & That” opens with a soft, consistent keyboard, and also features saxophone and harmonica. Pedal steel is sprinkled throughout the album, namely on “Lime Green Shirt,” a song waxing nostalgia about a past relationship.

But more than just the instrumentation on this album feature subtle intricacies and layers. What I love most about Calendar Days is the way it employs seemingly simple lyrics about the banal routines of life (hence the title “Calendar Days”) to explore complex themes of growing up. “Alice,” a tune about falling in love, opens with a line about his morning breakfast (“I get out of bed/I get/my toast/to the perfect shade of gold”). “Blue and That,” a song about getting high in the park, touches on the fleeting nature of leisure time with friends. “Gap Life,” an acoustic track about the uselessness of channel surfing, conveys a sense of wistful longing for something more (“I don’t know if it was a gap year, or a gap life/But there wasn’t much on between channel 2 and channel 9”). Every word on Calendar Days feels real–the basic yet elegantly described actions and routines described are easy to relate to and unifying.  The result is an incredibly intimate album. This ability to transpose everyday experiences with which we are all familiar into music makes Dick Diver the kind of band you want to listen to when you need some friendly reassurance.

Layering sensations of happiness, sadness, thoughtfulness and nostalgia amongst musically solid compositions, Calendar Days will go a long way toward putting Dick Diver on the map–after all, no one tires of reminiscing about their youth (or enjoying charming Australian accents).  An effort well deserving of praise and attention, I highly recommend digging in.

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