Get geared down to start riding some upbeat chillwaves (quite the oxymoron) on Lemonade’s release of their 2nd album, Diver. This trio, hailing from Brooklyn by way of San Francisco, began its musical experimentation in Ableton by drawing from each member’s ear for house, world, and ambient effects. Diver represents a huge shift from the band’s prior sound; you’ll find the Caribbean influences and superfluous noises a la Pure Moods replaced by songs with layered percussion, vocals, and airiness that barely creates a mildly pleasant ensemble on half the tracks.
Track 2, ‘Neptune,’ is the obvious standout after one pass through the album. Lemonade found the correct ratio of synth, drums, and world influences on this one. Not to mention the lyrics hit home in post-breakup situations, which the listener has had to relate to at one point or another. It’s too bad the best song off of Diver is one of the shortest. Other highlights include the dancier ‘Whitecaps’ and ‘Big Changes,’ both of which draw from the band’s 2010 style with tribal sound infusion and helps to pick up the pace after several anticlimactic tracks prior to those. ‘Whitecaps’ features a Dutch House inspired percussive background with Caribbean steel drum kicking in during the last minute. The lyrics, however, continue to be no different than the rest of the album: regret, abandonment, and lonely reminiscing.
One thing that irks me about this release is the same damn reverberated clap found on at least 4 of the tracks. There was no need for the extra filler to be incorporated and then looped throughout Diver. At least tone it down, will you? Synth progressions or some basslines would have sufficed just fine. The lack of lyrical creativity also takes a toll on the album’s listening enjoyment because either the band’s vocalist, Callan Clendenin, just had his girlfriend break up with him or the group doesn’t have a lot that needs to be shared through their musical outlet.
The good news is that Lemonade ended the album on a positive note with ‘Softkiss.’ Again, the song’s premise is that of heartbreak and avoiding losing the one you care about but at least there is some depth on this track. The beat is punchy and gives some redeeming fun to conclude a record that I can best characterize as jumbled noises that only succeed in coming together on a third of the singles. Diver is not the freshest produce to come out this year, and you may even find yourself in a chilled out funk after giving it a gander.