Thursday, October 18, 2012

Diamond Rings: "Free Dimensional" (album review)

It seems like we may never hear from the D'Ubervilles again as John O. is deeply ensconced in the world of Diamond Rings.  His electro-pop alter ego releases his sophomore album, Free Dimensional, on October 22nd.

The techno-dance bleeps of songs like "All the Time" are completely mindless.  However, they are somehow at the same time strangely addictive.  "Hand Over My Heart" has a timeless charm to it.  The bouncing piano and perfectly-placed beats of "A To Z" will have you toe-tapping at the very least.

Diamond Rings do a decent job making sure the dance music doesn't become monotonous, which is a real problem with the genre.  For example, despite an electronic base, the peppy "Runaway Love" actually has a Strokes-like garage vibe to it.  A harsher Depeche Mode-style keyboard throb gives "(I Know) What I'm Made Of" some welcome menace.

Of course there are exceptions.  "I'm Just Me", for instance, features some of the most common cliches in generic club dance music.

John O's voice is well-suited to the more moody numbers.  Tracks like "Everything Speaks" benefit from the dark, foreboding vocals.  The results are a blend of creepy, angsty, frightening, and depressing.  Unfortunately, those are not as prevalent as they should be on the record.

By avoiding (mostly) the tired generic elements of inorganic music, Diamond Rings provides a fairly fun entry point to the genre.

Diamond Rings plays the Mod Club in Toronto on November 29th.

Best tracks: "A To Z", "(I Know) What I'm Made Of"

Track listing for Free Dimensional:
  • Everything Speaks
  • All the Time
  • Runaway Love
  • Put Me On
  • I'm Just Me
  • Hand Over My Heart
  • (I Know) What I'm Made Of
  • A to Z
  • Stand My Ground
  • Day & Night

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