Dick Diver may have chosen an… interesting… name, but don’t let it fool you. This foursome from Melbourne, Australia isn’t a joke band, and their recently released third album, Melbourne, Florida (named after the other Melbourne – Dick Diver is a band that obviously likes wordplay) has received almost universal acclaim for its brand of jangly indie-pop that lands somewhere between their Aussie predecessors The Go-Betweens and their next door neighbors on New Zealand’s Flying Nun label. Finally getting some recognition on this side of the world, the band is on a US tour, and last Wednesday came to the Ottobar in Baltimore.
Unlike many bands where the members have defined roles, Dick Diver operates as a collective, with each of the four members taking turns at songwriting and lead vocals, and even swapping instruments (at one point in the set, guitarist Alistair McKay and drummer Steph Hughes switched roles for several songs). While most of their eleven-song set focused on tracks from the latest album (highlights including “Waste the Alphabet” and “Year in Pictutres,” two songs which deserve to be hit singles), the band’s previous albums were represented as well, with “Keno” from New Start Again and “Alice” and “Amber” from Calendar Days.
Oh, and that band name? Dick Diver was one of the main characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night. Get your mind out of the gutter. And if it left you uncertain before, go check them out.
Three Baltimore bands – Mink Hollow, Other Colors, and New God – served as the openers for the night
All photos by Matt Condon. Click to embiggen.