Diamond Rings - Special Affections
I have to 'fess up right at the outset. I want to hate Diamond Rings. That stupid haircut and dumb make-up is way too contrived and gimmicky. Unfortunately for me, once I hear his new album Special Affections, I find it really really hard to dislike him. That puts a bit of a crimp in my plans.
These tracks are heavy on the synth and heavy on the hooks. "You & Me" is absolutely infectious. It's big bold catchy choruses in tunes like "Give It Up" and "Pre-Owned Heart" that truly worm their way into your head.
In all cases, "On Our Own" being the most obvious example, there's a strong '80s influence that manifests itself. Rather than merely mimic the synth pop genre though, Diamond Rings' songs are more inspired by it. The resulting tracks sound fresh, while still serving as a tribute to what's come before.
Vocally Diamond Rings is a strange mish-mash. Depending on the mood he's trying to create around a song he can sound dark like Ian Curtis ("It's Not My Party"), lo-fi like Julian Casablancas ("You & Me), or a Bowie that falls somewhere in between ("Play By Heart").
If you can look past the distracting and often obnoxious stage persona, there is a solid, infectious pop record here. I wish Diamond Rings would just give his face a good wash and concentrate on the music.
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