Stream Dick Diver Melbourne, Florida (Stereogum Premiere)
Dick Diver is one of the most jarring names I’ve encountered for a band, and I almost let it stop me from listening to their album. It seemed like a fratty, lewd, tongue-in-cheek joke designed to get a guffaw, not the moniker of a carefree dream-rock quartet from Australia. But it turns out Dick Diver is a character from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is The Night, a literary reference about a doomed psychoanalyst that makes far more sense — and feels much more meaningful — than a crude pun. As I listened to their third album Melbourne, Florida (another instance of winking wordplay), the surprises kept coming, like when the end of “Year In Pictures” breaks out into a lush saxophone solo, or on the next track, “Leftovers,” when the band’s only female member — drummer Stephanie Hughes — takes over lead vocal duty. For most tracks Hughes joins guitarist Rupert Edwards on vocals, and their musical chemistry is one of the most enjoyable parts of the record. It’s part of what helps them rise above clever, jangling pop and into more experimental and psychedelic territory without it ever feeling forced. Edwards sounds like he’s channeling Lou Reed sometimes, like on “% Points” when he clips his phrasing to flit around guitar parts and slides up and down to notes like Reed would. Though this is the group’s third album, none of them have been released in the US until now, but Melbourne, Florida is a great entry point regardless. Listen to it below.