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There’s a high school quiz night question that asks “What do Jim Morrison and Kylie Minogue have in common?” You could insert Dick Diver into that question and (according to the band, at least) the answer would be “They all fucking rule…except Jim Morrison.”
Rupert from Dick Diver claims he knows someone who accidentally booked a flight to Melbourne, Florida (birthplace of the Doors frontman) instead of Melbourne, Australia (home of Kylie and the Dicks). “I imagined her exiting the plane,” says Rupert, “jet-lagged, confused by the accents and the tan pants and the humidity, thinking ‘look at what Abbott has done’.”
Dick Diver’s third album Melbourne, Florida pays tribute to Jim Morrison, Kylie, confused travellers, high school quiz nights and much more, all in the space of 12 very beautiful pop songs. As with everything Dick Diver have ever done, the album was recorded by Mikey Young, the man-myth behind such rock juggernauts as Total Control and Eddy Current Suppression Ring. And once again, the band opted to avoid stuffy studios and record in a rustic location, this time looking for atmosphere and intoxication in a big old shed in Apollo Bay.
Rupert has this to say about the new album – “You know that Simpsons episode where Krusty is trying to get a part in the Radioactive Man movie? He shows the director a photo where he is pulling different types of faces (happy, sad, angry etc). The director isn’t impressed. ‘But look at my range!’ Krusty implores. Melbourne, Florida is like that. Look at our range!”
It is a wide-ranging and diverse album, simultaneously smoother and more eccentric than their previous world-conquering efforts Calendar Days (2013) and New Start Again (2011). There‘s a horn section, there’s a Tears For Fears-style synth ballad (Percentage Points), and there’s even a song co-written with a bona-fide poet. First single Waste The Alphabet, written by guitarist Al McKay with renowned Australian poet Michael Farrell, is a short, sharp pop attack which premiered in December on The Fader, and blazed its way across the internet like a shooting star.
But all this artistic progress can be nerve-wracking. Rupert has also given us a glimpse into his troubled psyche with this internal monologue – “Is this as sprawling/messy as we’ll ever get? Is doing more overdubs, getting horns, putting more synth, piano and pedal steel on going to make me feel like a musician? Do people listen to lyrics? Am I a retrospective fraud if these songs are taken to be autobiographical when they aren’t?”
Only you, the listener, can be the judge. Melbourne, Florida, is released on March 6, 2015 in Australia, New Zealand and Japan by Chapter Music, the band’s ancestral home. US label Trouble In Mind releases the album on March 10 for the rest of the world.