Manchester four-piece Diving Station have been writing and performing together for five years. I know this because I read it on their Bandcamp bio, but the truth is that you can hear it in every second of their excellent new single, ‘Joanna’. Bands don’t tend to make music like this unless they have that kind of wordless, telepathic way of communicating that is built largely on years and years of working together. With this in mind, I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that – on the strength of ‘Joanna’ alone – Diving Station are a cut above most other bands.
The first track to be released from their forthcoming EP, June Damp, ‘Joanna’ is a beautiful piece of alternative/indie pop that makes use of fragmented drums, piano, guitar, and harp to great effect. Weaving their way through all these disparate elements and drawing them together are Anna McLuckie’s fluid vocals. The result is something that is in equal parts as dense as it is light, and utterly spellbinding. The production is superb too; meticulously arranged and calling to mind the kind of music that (the much missed) Wild Beasts were making around about the time of Smother. If you can, listen on headphones as it’s a treat.
There’s something about the atmosphere and enigmatic lyrics that entice and keep you coming back for more. I really like that I’ve listened to the song at least ten times now and I’m still nowhere nearer to understanding who ‘Joanna’ is, but lines like “she writes the words I yearn to say… she sends the blood back to my feet” feel intoxicating. In short, this is an absolutely fantastic four minutes of music. It’s mysterious and kind of oppressive, yet warm and inviting at the same time. In an ideal world, bands as imaginative as Diving Station would be around for a long time and have the financial freedom to pursue whatever takes their fancy. With material as intricate and as distinctive as this, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the EP.