Monday, October 18th, 2010
Play By Heart
Review of Diamond Rings’ Special Affections and giveaway
Robin SharpThe Diamond Rings journey thus far – from viral video through legal scuffle, at festivals at home and abroad – has been documented hereabouts pretty well, I think, but there’s still one fairly important – or only important – facet of the tale to be considered – the debut album, Special Affections, which finally arrives next Tuesday, October 26.
For an artist who has been so successful with the single format – a new track, or more specifically a new video – every few months to keep interest alive, the full-length could be a daunting proposition; after all, what works well in 4-minute portions may prove to be less-so over 40, particularly when it’s of as specific a sound and style as John O’Regan has defined Diamond Rings to be. So it’s to John O’s credit that Special Affections is strong enough to stand apart from the extravagant visuals that define Diamond Rings live and on video, though it does take on a different character in just the audio realm; more minor in key and sombre in tone and with the leanness of the sound even more evident. Still, he finds enough variety in the keys/laptop/voice DIY electro-pop recipe that forms the backbone of the record to fully engage anyone who’s ear was tweaked by any of the lead-up singles.
That said, it’s telling that the best moments on the record come when O’Reagan loosens the man-and-machine aesthetic and allows elements like the female backing vocals on “On Our Own” or the raw electric guitar he so ably wields in The D’Urbervilles into the mix. Beyond just elevating the songs they appear on, they point to a more interesting future for Diamond Rings – one where it’s more than a pseudonym but a proper project or even band. The long-term prospects of the current aesthetic are unclear, but if the sounds start clearly serving the songs and not the other way around, then the sky is the limit. But that’s a suggestion for tomorrow; for today, Diamond Rings is John O’Reagan and Special Affections delivers on all promises made.
X-Tra has a feature piece on Diamond Rings, whom after an intense CMJ festival this week, will be playing a number of Canadian dates before packing up his glitter and laptop for a jaunt to the UK. Record release day, October 26, will be spent at home with a special launch party at The Garrison and courtesy of Embrace, I have three pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Diamond Rings” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, October 22.
MP3: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”
MP3: Diamond Rings – “Wait And See”
Video: Diamond Rings – “Something Else”
Video: Diamond Rings – “Show Me Your Stuff”
Video: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”
Video: Diamond Rings – “Wait & See”
MySpace: Diamond Rings
Westword interviews PS I Love You, who are opening up for Diamond Rings on the 26th and have released a new video from Meet Me At The Muster Station; they’re playing a free in-store at Soundscapes at 7PM that same evening.
Born Ruffians have released a new video from their sophomore effort Say It and will put out an EP of unreleased odds and ends on November 2 called Plinky Plonk – it’s digital-only with physical copies only available at their shows.
Video: Born Ruffians – “Nova-Leigh”
Video: Holy Fuck – “Red Lights”
Know what would be great? If for their just-announced Hallowe’en show at The Garrison, Fucked Up and The Sadies dressed up as each other. Pink Eyes in a Nudie suit, The Sadies in their underwear… actually, never mind. Ticket info still forthcoming; Times Square has an interview with Dallas Good of The Sadies.
Forest City Lovers have announced an in-store at Criminal Records on November 4 at 6PM, the day before their big show at The Horseshoe. That’d be November 5. If it was unclear.
So I’m off to Halifax for the Halifax Pop Explosion on Wednesday, and having never been to Halifax or further east in Canada than Quebec City, am soliciting suggestions for things to do and see whilst out there. Most recommendations I’ve gotten so far are beers – which is great though dangerous – but beyond the eat/drink, what else should I make sure to fit in? I’ve got Citadel Hill, the ferry to Dartmouth, Point Pleasant Park… and?