Diamond Doves –
The lead singer’s voice is rich, but not unique, the songs can be a bit predictable, the transitions are somewhat utilitarian, and the production style errs on the side of making the edges overly smooth.
I should be bored by this back up band, (formerly having worked with Elvis Perkins) turned sovereign group, but I am not. I am consistently compelled by the hooks, by the competence of the musicianship and the durability of their songs’ construction.
Somehow Diamond Doves’ psych pop vibe is more than palatable, and they manage a posture that is not easy to achieve. The songs sound confident and mature, but youthful and fresh. This is a band that is comfortable sliding from dance beats into crunchy guitar parts; shimmying from plunky piano sections into heavy bass hums; leaping from anthemic Killers-esque vocals to lushly orchestrated indie rock, yet they never seem to be showing off. They just seem to be closing in on a sound. And they aren’t afraid to drop a horn section in every now and again to play off the squeaky lead guitars and the eastern spiced strings. They seem to be trying out all the tools in their tool box, the loud ones, the quiet ones, precision ones, the ones you need a permit for, and ones that look suspiciously similar to the tools that Grizzly Bear uses.
But it’s all good. There is a pop friendly sheen on these songs, but one that does not ruin them. These cats are looking for their sound. They are testing their limits like a child with a new step parent, or like some sort of musical version of sonar where they call in every direction to get a sense of where they should be going. They seem like they are one or two records from really figuring out what they want to be doing, and that is exciting. It feels like this band is one insane hairstyle, one weird cover, one unexpected performance away from really doing something uncommonly special. I want to be there when it happens.
Best Track: “Hey Lady”
It’s strange that a song that begins by borrowing the synthesized intro from “Sexual Healing,” Radiohead’s chiming “Creep” guitar chords and tone, and the drum pick up from Sgt. Peppers ends up sounding like what 90s alt rock bands (like, say, the Toadies) would sound like if they didn’t have to worry about making bad MTV videos and whether or not their jacket looked cool when they were featured on the cover of Spin magazine. The vocal harmonies and touches of violin elevate this simple song in a way that makes in incessantly listenable… So listen incessently.