It’s been two years since Melbourne indie pop band Dick Diver released an album. Not to say that its members have been neglecting the music scene. Between the four of them, they make up a who’s-who of current Australian indie staples — members also share their time between Total Control, UV Race, Boomgates and Lower Plenty.
After a few years of riding high on national critical adoration, they’re finally returning with Melbourne, Florida, and their newest material expands on their established jangle pop sound.
“I wanted to make a more complex or detailed album, and I think that kinda suited what everyone had,” says guitarist/singer Rupert Edwards. “We spent 10 times more on mixing than we ever had before. It was way more involved and felt like harder work than it ever had before… It was definitely work – enjoyable work.”
Melbourne, Florida — a reference to the US city rather than a cross-comparison — is Dick Diver’s third full-length, and it’s steps ahead from their previous releases. The pristine guitar lines and observational lyrics that characterised their older material are still present, but unexpected additions like a horn section and a collaboration with poet Michael Farrell push the songs into uncharted territory.
In the lead up to a stint at Meredith last year, the band were looking for a way to differentiate their set from their earlier Golden Plains performance.
“I can’t remember whose idea it was to get these two people who we knew to play horns with us, but it fitted with the band surprisingly well,” says Edwards. “I thought it could have been disastrous.”
The decision paid off, and they incorporated the horn section into songs like Year In Pictures, Leftovers and Resist.
Similarly, the collaboration with poet Farrell on lead single Waste The Alphabet came about organically.
“We were fans of Farrell’s writing and Al [McKay, guitarist/singer] was friends with him from before, so I guess we just thought it would be a good idea to see what would happen,” says Edwards.
Listen: Dick Diver – Waste The Alphabet
Pinpointing the main difference between recording this album and their last, 2013’s Calendar Days, Edwards says, “I think we were pretty confident going into it. Trying to do more overdubs and make it more complex and more arranged than it had been before.
“I think the feeling about what we could do and what we couldn’t do changed a little bit.”
This confidence comes across clearly on the new record – the songs are sprawling but succinct, polished but not too slick.
“After doing two albums and the stakes are raised a bit, you feel like you know you can write,” says Edwards about this particular burst of confidence.
“So maybe you start thinking about how you can do it better or in a newer, fresher way than you’ve done before, so you’re not just treading the same ground than you already have.
“[But] I think there’s some other factor that comes in that I can’t really name. That may be part of the reason, but I don’t know why I felt so confident, really… I didn’t question it too much. I know if we had to make an album right now I wouldn’t feel confident at all.”
Despite laying low for the time being – no gigs, tours or plans to hop right back into the studio – Edwards is adamant that Dick Diver aren’t ready to call it a day yet.
“Yeah, we’re not breaking up or anything. But we’re a band where everyone works full-time and we worked on a fair few things after the last record came out and I think it seems kind of normal to not push it too hard.”
Along with holding down a day job, Edwards plays in The Back Stabbers with his friend Amy Hill. “We try to make the most depressing music humanly imaginable,” he quips.
Dick Diver’s ‘Melbourne, Florida’ is released this Friday, 6th March.