Review: Dive Index – Lost In The Pressure

Dive Index were formed in the mid 2000’s by producer Will Thomas. An impressive list of past collaborators have included Roger Eno, Joseph Arthur, Ride’s Mark Gardener and Ian Masters of The Pale Saints. However, this time the latest album revolves around Thomas plus singers Isaiah Gage and Simone White (the former also lending his cello skills for good measure).

Dive Index Album Cover

‘Rewind Your Patience’s slick hybrid of trip-hop beats and smooth soul vocals call to mind the ambient/soul ensemble approach of Alpha or The Beauty Room. The sublime glitch-soul ‘A Person To Hide With’ contains a lyrical urge to “keep your shit together”, contrasting neatly with the dreamy aura. ‘Counting Umbrellas’ is the first time we hear the soothing tones of White and it’s a perfectly judged song where her almost effortless, calming contribution fits the subtly infectious arrangement like a glove; there’s even a luxurious string-laden passage to add further gravitas. Three songs in, it’s an almost perfect beginning.

It’s somewhat unfortunate then, that after such a bright start the album sags in the middle as the constant moodiness gives way to a number of songs which retain the album’s class and high production values but struggle to sink their hooks into the listener. ‘If I Ever Have You’ and ‘Constant Chatter’ are content to simmer away in the background; sophisticated and elegant but lacking an edge. That said, ‘Pattern Pieces’ makes the most of a latin-jazz arrangement in the manner of Stereolab and – in keeping with its dramatic title – ‘No Stab Wounds’ benefits from some robust rhythms and clicks; kicking in a stronger end to the record. Finally, there are few more dignified ways to end a record than Gage’s elegiac performance on the lovely ‘Singing To Bats’.

Thomas is clearly a real experienced hand at this kind of music and the production is right on the money. A few of the songs are less easy to remember than you would expect but when the collective step out from the shadows of coffee table ambience, they can create some very special moments indeed.

Web Sites:
Dive Index Page on Neutral Music
Video for Dive Index – Singing To Bats

Further Listening:
Alpha, Herbert, The Beauty Room

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