The most obvious and immediate factor differentiating Dick Diver‘s Melbourne, Florida from its predecessors is the horn section edging its way into the majority of the songs. They’re pushing the typical “guitar band” boundaries, too, dabbling with zany synths and melodic piano lines that fuse well with their natural pop sensibilities
Lyrically, though, they’re still very much grounded in the language of the suburbs – the songs are peppered with references to televisions, driveways and junk mail. “See your name in number plates/hiding in the traffic,” sings drummer Steph Hughes on third track Leftovers, cementing the record’s place as a soundtrack for the everyday.
The album, Dick Diver’s third, starts off strong with the terrific Waste The Alphabet. Year in Pictures is more subdued, with the horn section floating through at the end.
The dreaminess of the first few tracks is jolted by the deadpan Beat Me Up (Talk to a Counsellor), the lone appearance of Al Montfort’s nasally vocals. With its steady snare march and spacey zaps of synth, it’s carried by drolly nerdy lines like “you beat me up/don’t get a gun, talk to a counsellor.”
The mood shifts again with the gentle, piano-led instrumental Resist, which acts as a prelude to sprawling ballad Percentage Points. It boasts a Chills’ Night Of Chill Blue vibe to it, complete with finger clicks and the killer line: “There’s sick on your lapel, daddy-o.”
Cutting through the glossiness, Hughes’ vocals creep in halfway through, shadowing frontman Rupert Edwards’ voice and sounding like it should be in the background of a slow dance somewhere in John Hughes’ universe.
View from a Shaky Ladder is a fitting closer, pairing Hughes’ stark vocals with a minimal piano line, rounded off with a final appearance from the horn section. The result feels like The Breeders’ more tender moments (think Driving On 9).
Melbourne, Florida is a solid, confident album from one of Melbourne’s finest purveyors of smart, wry indie pop.
Dick Diver’s ‘Melbourne, Florida’ is out now via Chapter Music.