The Diggs


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Commute is a promising but uneven and somewhat unsatisfying debut from the Brooklyn three-piece the Diggs. Led by singer, songwriter, and guitarist Timothy Lannen, the Diggs are unapologetically inspired by the shoegazer and dream pop scenes of the '90s: Lannen's overdubbed and effects-laden guitars drone and shimmer across the songs while bassist Robert Haussmann and drummer Charlie Schmid provide nearly all the forward momentum, and even at his most assertive, Lannen's deadpan vocals almost never rise above about the midpoint in the mix. The results, on songs like "Minimum Safe Distance" and "It's Just Like You Say," make for a pleasant modern update on the likes of Ride or Swervedriver, but the further Lannen moves from that core sound, the less interesting Commute becomes. Several songs, most notably "Sibling" and "Stagg," speed up the tempo and add a bit more distortion, and in the process become fundamentally indistinguishable from your basic cookie-cutter emo tracks in the post-Sunny Day Real Estate tradition. Further, even the more appealing songs here tend to evaporate once the listener tries to focus on the lyrical or melodic content: Commute is filled with pleasant surfaces sure to be comfortingly familiar to aging hipsters with fond memories of the shoegazer era, but it doesn't have much more than that going for it.

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