Diamond Nights - Popsicle Review
By Victor Valdivia
Diamond Nights are often lumped in with such '80s revival acts as the Killers and Franz Ferdinand, but in fact, one listen to their album Popsicle proves that they have an often surprising set of influences. Vocalist Morgan Phalen is a dead ringer for Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott, and "Destination Diamonds" is indeed in the vein of classic Thin Lizzy. Similarly, "It's a Shokka" could pass for Judas Priest's "Electric Eye", and "Dirty Thief" sounds like a fusion of early AC/DC and Dinosaur Jr., right down to the almost J Mascis-like vocals.
Diamond Nights, in fact, owe more to the '70s that to the '80s, and even then, their influences are less the hip punk and glam bands so routinely cited and more the early-'70s dinosaur-rock acts routinely reviled. Their funk-rock cuts-like the acoustic "Snakey Ruth" and "Drip Drip" owe less to George Clinton and more to Joe Walsh; they could easily fit on one of Walsh's mid-70s releases. The closer, the acoustic ballad "Ordinary Life", is pure singer-songwriter folk. And lyrically, the album is about nothing but girls, rawk, and partying.
Which is not to say that Diamond Nights is a purely retro act. "The Girl's Attractive", with its eerie keyboards and guitar solo, updates the sound of classic Joy Division and brings it into a new era. "Beyond the City of Love" and "Needle in the Rice" are interesting variations on older formulas. It helps that the band is surprisingly tight. Far from merely relying on played-out nostalgia, Diamond Nights actually have enough musical ability to make even the hoariest cliches interesting. Diamond Nights have a similarity to other retro acts, but have enough originality, and especially enough raw energy and vitality, to make them worth seeking out.
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Diamond Nights - Popsicle
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