Asked to curate their own dream SXSW bill by Austin Town Hall in March, Bay Area group Happy Diving selected Tony Molina, Roomrunner, Diarrhea Planet and Speedy Ortiz. It’s hard to disagree with their curatorial sensibilities: like those bands, Happy Diving blend sledgehammer-to-the-stomach guitars with a pleading, heart-on-sleeve melodic sensibility. Their latest-length, Big World is a full-on clobberer. The guitars weigh a metric ton, and are relentless in their power and assault. They ooze thick and slow as tar. But all of that power is leavened by a genuine emotional sweetness: the vocal lines are bright and immediate, and on songs like the magnificent, surging “Whenever,” they serve as as an anchor, steadying the group’s songs amidst the big black ocean of riffs.
Big World will be released by Father/Daughter Records on November 4. Pre-order it here.