In a 2016 interview with the Austin Chronicle, DIIV front person Zachary Cole Smith stated his purpose for composing music: "The music I'm writing now, it's more about drawing eyes back to us and trying to make something that makes the case for guitar music again." As a listener who's moved by the guitar-heavy stylings of moody post-rock bands such as Red Sparowes and shoe gazers such as HUM, I'm thankful that groups such as DIIV and Burlington slowcore band Father Figuer are committed to the cause.
Transitions, the latter's debut LP released on February 29, is an aural bath of electric guitar with varying tones, textures and rhythms driven by guitarists and singers Caroline Franks and Erin White. Throughout the 11 songs on the Queen City quartet's album, the pair's individual instruments coexist cohesively.
The interplay is particularly satisfying in the album's lone upbeat song "never Ü," where distinct tones highlight what each player is creating separately and together. The interaction between Franks' and White's guitars is an engaging focal point from start to finish — deliberate dissonance and all.
A strong and steady rhythm section of drummer Elise Albertini and bassist David Roche ground the guitar work in a firm foundation. Former member Charity Beckert also plays bass on three songs and contributed to the composition of all of the album's bass lines.
Franks and White share lead singing duties, taking the mic on the songs that they individually conceived. Vocals tend to be buried, and lyrics take a back seat to guitar work. Nonetheless, a few lines stand out.
In "source amnesia," written and sung by White, the singer is no longer willing to perform emotional labor for someone who's behaving shittily: "Eat your anger somewhere else / 'cause there's a math to how you're dying / and I'm sick of multiplying your sins for you."
Two instrumental selections composed by Franks, "from time to time" and "close," are high points — particularly the latter. The heavy distortion and driving rhythm could make even the most conservative Karen throw devil horns.
Tracks were recorded live, and songs were mostly mixed by Franks. White mixed the shoe-gaze funeral dirge "voyager" and the darkly plodding "1945." Franks made the master at the University of Vermont recording studio.
Transitions took about a year to make, and its songs incubated for three. Father Figuer's attention to detail and ownership over their work is clear. The best part? It still rocks.
Transitions is available at fatherfiguer.bandcamp.com, as well as Spotify and other digital streaming services.