Is the Is Are

DIIV - Is the Is Are
Critic Score
Based on 32 reviews
2016 Ratings: #500 / 946
User Score
Based on 394 ratings
2016 Ratings: #295
Liked by 5 people
February 5, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
Dream Pop / Genres / Website
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The record as a whole is a listen that’s both inviting and challenging, and it seems like it’s one that’ll keep returning rewards for a long time.
The Line of Best Fit

Yes; Is The Is Are is overly long, and they very much stick to their musical template throughout, but it’s crammed with great tracks.


Is the Is Are doesn’t engage in fantasy or open up new worlds—it builds a nearly impenetrable wall around the self. Call it Requiem for a Dream-pop, dedicated to a gorgeous yet unglamorous portrayal of addiction.


‘Is The Is Are’ could be DIIV’s definitive statement. Forget all the baggage, this is just a band in a room, and the noise they make is thrilling.


To exorcise years of mounting bleakness is no doubt a relief, but the resulting record is one that’s compelling for the exact opposite reasons.

Under The Radar

Is The Is Are, more than any album in a long time, feels like a great and immersive book, with the band further describing a new world with each track.

NOW Magazine
The album is a redemption of sorts for Smith, whom many had written off as just another clichéd troubled rock star.
The Guardian
At first it can seem too reliant on one style and, like many a double album, in need of an edit. Then you realise that overindulgence is half the point here. Diiv are demanding complete sonic immersion, and providing the listener with ample opportunities to lose themselves.

There will no doubt be some making the age-old "less is more" argument that comes with any double LP, but that shouldn't overshadow the fact that DIIV have returned with a powerful, immersive sophomore album.


On ‘Is The Is Are’, everything carries more meaning, whether that’s down to context or the fact that Cole is simply a better, more vital songwriter. He’s well and truly made his point here.


While artists shouldn't have to suffer for their work, there is something alchemical about turning pain into beauty; Is the Is Are has plenty of both. Cliched as it may sound, hardship seems to have given DIIV's prettiness more depth.

No Ripcord

Is the Is Are is told with barefaced honesty, seen through the lens of a band that is reclaiming their capacities as a unit after their lead songwriter faced near self-destruction.

Drowned in Sound

Is The Is Are is a far better record than anyone could have expected it to be. A welcome return, and one that hopefully signals a healthier and less troublesome existence in the future.

Rolling Stone
While many in the latest generation are content to pile on tons of effects to make up for bland songwriting, Brooklyn pedal-board hoarders DIIV's second album finds them eager to prove there's more to them than ambience.

Those who enjoyed DIIV’s debut will not be disappointed here. But with 17 tracks and a more confident, ambitious scope, Is the Is Are does feel a bigger, more expansive record.

The Skinny

While Oshin was exploratory yet managed to remain concise, Is The Is Are rambles somewhat over an unhealthily long 17 tracks.

Pretty Much Amazing

Is the Is Are is certainly honest, but it could use a little more optimism, and the music’s circuitousness only adds to the feeling that a single issue is being poked and prodded to exhaustion.

Consequence of Sound

It could have benefited from a bit more editing. Is the Is Are is almost better experienced in small doses, three or four songs at a time. The album feels meticulously thought out, with DIIV both opening up their sound and then honing in on the sharper moments they discover.


While sweetened by a potent handful of emphatic guitar romps, DIIV’s latest record quickly overstays its welcome, and ultimately would do well to be remembered as more than just a watered-down collection of indie rock songs.


At its best, Is the Is Are is a fine album with plenty of immediate pleasures to offer. However, digging deeper won’t unveil anything really tangible. As much as Smith may say he wants to get real, he’s clearly more comfortable living in a hazy dream.

Tiny Mix Tapes

Is the Is Are is hopelessness disguised as chilling out, self-defeat disguised as complex darkness.

Yes it is too long, and yes its a bit self indulgent. Yet, i found myself liking this record. Its basically more of the same as on the debut, but with the emphasis very much on more. The dreamy guitars and continues melodies gives the record an almost trance like feel, immersing the listener into a thick swamp of dream pop.

Favorite Moments: Dopamine, Yr Not Far, Is the Is Are, Dust.
DIIV came through and made another enjoyable album. This album isn't very original; DIIV's reverb soaked guitars are back with that festival friendly sound. The album is also pretty lengthy which doesn't really do DIIV any favors. This very familiar sound is overdone and can get bland really quick, just like their last record. But, with all that said, I did really like the album. I still love the singles within the context of the record as a whole. Accompanying these tracks are new ones with ... read more
Reverb returns with their second full-length effort, titled "Is The Reverb Are". On this album, you can expect to hear everything from reverb, to reverb, to even reverb. The lead singer of Reverb delivers his greatest performance of reverb yet on this album.

As far as individual songs go, the band decided they were so plentiful in reverb that they didn't need to give them any distinguishable titles, and so they just named them all "Reverb" instead. Each Reverb track is ... read more
Cool little indie rock album. I really enjoy the elements of dream pop and shoegaze. Goes well with the album concept
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Added on: November 4, 2015