Friday, November 25, 2011

Album Review: Diamond - Don't Lose Your Cool

EP Rating: B+
With the resurgence in popularity of Jimmy Eat World and Weezer, it was inevitable that a new wave of bands would emerge as a result of their second coming. The pair of them have taken festivals by storm over the past couple of years, and provided further fuel to their revivals with much improved new outings, so it was only a matter of time before a band like Diamond came along in their wake. Featuring members of hardcore bands Trapped Under Ice and Down To Nothing, this Baltimore group are currently making a name for themselves playing the same kind of joyous alt-pop that Weezer perfected on The Blue Album, and later Jimmy Ear World with Bleed American. Nostalgic throwbacks they may be, but the recent success of those two bands has proved the endearing appeal of their brand of music, and Diamond's latest EP Don't Lose Your Cool only drives home the point further.

With debut release DMND, the fledgling quartet established a sound melodic base with five solid and upbeat nuggets which suggested plenty of potential should they pursue the project further. With this follow-up piece, they've gone some way towards fulfilling that promise, retaining the sound they had utilised on that first outing but ratcheting up all of it's elements to optimum level. The boost in confidence brought about by DMND is clear, and has resulted in both their improvement as a unit as well as a rise in the overall quality of their songs. The choruses are more memorable, the hooks more addictive and the riffs carry more of an edge - an all round improvement that equates to a significantly stronger release, the excellence of which alone should be enough to generate a buzz.

It may initially come as a shock that a bunch of hardcore kids can make the transition to this distinctly sunnier territory in such seamless fashion, but the more you listen to Don't Lose Your Cool, the more this puzzle begins to make sense. Throughout the seven tracks, the four members gel remarkably well given that they're used to performing in different outfits, with songs like 'Fly Solo' and 'The Feeling' showcasing an impenetrably tight unit to whom this level of competence comes naturally. The reason for this is simple; they're just a group of excellent musicians who are flexible enough to incorporate a range of different styles and make it sound like they've been purveyors of them for years. Should they ever decide to adopt a folk or indie-pop direction, you suspect that they'd pull off the transition in similar style, such is the obvious level and diversity of their abilities. A key factor behind this is Justin Gilman's vocal performance, with his voice showing the type of sugary sweetness custom-built for this genre while also displaying an impressive range which lifts songs like 'Keep Dreaming' to a whole new level.

He is, however, merely the most impressive aspect of a wonderfully balanced collective. They're gifted with not only the musical ability to pull this off, but also the melodic know-how to make it totally convincing, something that's often absent from bands who're more accustomed to different styles. Don't Lose Your Cool, as well as being a hugely satisfying release, is also a deeply exciting one, as it merely hints at what they Diamond may be able to achieve should they decide to release an LP, and while that's by no means certain, it's a seriously appealing prospect.

Don't Lose Your Cool is released on November 29th.



1. Sunburn
2. Fix Of Mine
3. Fly Solo
4. Don't Lose Your Cool
5. The Feeling
6. Keep Dreamin'
7. Pleasantries

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