It feels great to have I Am The Avalanche back. With their first studio album in six years, DIVE wastes little time getting down to the business at hand with some incredibly well-crafted tunes. Lead single “Better Days” opens the record with a perfect build up to an ultra-melodic chorus. Lead vocalist Vinnie Caruana had this to say about opening the album with the track: “Not only is it the intro track to the record, but it is also the song the first the band wrote together since 2014’s Wolverines. It’s all about realizing too late how good you had it and raising a “drink to better days.” Oddly enough, it was written before the world went to hell in a handbasket earlier this year – making it an eerie prophecy.” Interestingly, many of these songs found on DIVE are the perfect soundtrack to the uncertainty of the days ahead of us while still remaining cautiously optimistic that things can improve.
”You’re No Good To Me Dead” follows the great opener and picks up the pace significantly in tempo. Caruana does a nice job of commanding the song from the get-go and the band rallies around their fearless leader with some well-timed backing gang vocals on the chorus. The title track follows the nice one-two punch of the two introductory singles with some crunchy guitars and some sped-up vocals at the midway point to bring some variety to the set. What the band does best on songs like this is to bring more emotion to Caruana’s lyrics by enhancing the mood of the material.
This stylistic choice of complementing the lyrics continues on other songs like “Fake Weed,” where guitarists Michael Ireland and Brandon Swanson build off of each others’ playing style to make for an empowering listening experience. Caruana continues to be a charismatic and authentic front-man as he showcases his impressive vocal range. IATA builds in a “slow jam” in “Love Song 69” that is similar in structure to Caruana’s recently released solo material, but the band rounds out the acoustic guitar sound with some well-placed percussion and further accentuates the emotions filled in the lyrics.
Other songs that stood out over repeat listens were the blistering “Are You Listening?” that takes on the concept of being in a one-sided relationship where it seems like the other party could care less. Whereas “Earthquake Weather” builds around the crescendos of the instruments to tell a story of the uneasiness of living with the anxieties of not knowing what the future holds in store for each of us.
All of these songs seem to build up to the massive LP closer, “The Morning,” where IATA fully realize their vision for Dive and write one of their most memorable songs to date. Caruana sings cautiously on the opening notes, “If I’m still alive come the morning / Yeah, if I somehow make it through / You’ll be the reason I still breathe / Yes, I’ll owe it all to you,” and he continues to explain his headspace as his bandmates provide the perfect backing arrangement to bring even more weight to his words. The lyrics bring more optimism to the fold as the band make a point to leave the listener with a sense of hope for the better days that will come if they can continue to look for the silver linings.