Dive Dive are a rock band who hail from Oxford. As a fellow citizen of said city of dreaming spires (and all that), a place with a really great local scene that a lot of talented bands come through, I have always held a bit of a soft spot for Dive Dive as they are “one of our own”. Local band or not, they’re always a pleasure to listen to, and their latest release, Potential, is no exception.
This is Dive Dive’s third LP, and is the first since 2007. We hear less from this band than perhaps most would like, due to the fact that three quarters of Dive Dive are often busy making up Frank Turner’s backing band. Potential starts with the punchy opener, Mr 10%, and easily holds your attention right through to the closing track, Let’s Swap Places (well, there is another track, but shush – that’s a secret), which is one of their mellower affairs. The album is littered with chunky punk rock riffs and a sort of post hardcore stop/start dynamic, reminiscent of Reuben or Jetplane Landing.
On what is, for me, one of the stand-out tracks of the album, The Point Is, Dive Dive are at their frenetic best. Wherewithal is another of my favourite tracks on Potential, a great example of how slow and apparently minimalistic can provide real impact. Even the poppier parts of the album, such as Liar, are far more complex than you might expect on first listen – the guitars layered and elaborate, the lyrics intelligent.
For anyone new to Dive Dive, Potential is a good place to start, perhaps even their finest work to date, but do go out and buy the other two! And for existing fans, well let’s just say that you wont be disappointed.