On about the 3rd listen through of â€˜An Introductionâ€™ the debut EP from Birminghamâ€™s Diamonds and Iâ€™m still not sure exactly what is going on. The impression is a load of kids discovering instruments for the first time and having a â€˜see who can play the loudest and fastestâ€™ competition. It then begins to evolve â€“ your ears begin to adapt to what is going on and it starts to fit together like a jigsaw with half the pieces missing, some of which have been replaced by lego and stickle bricks.
Originally Diamonds started out as a grind band (thanks press release!) but adding a bass player means you have to change your sound apparently (should have got a sampler dude) and actually construct songs over a minute in length that donâ€™t involve inhuman wailing and possible vomiting. Their sound now isâ€¦wellâ€¦.scattered would be the best term to use. The basic structure gives a now towards Seattleâ€™s The Blood Brothers, in both vocal delivery and the harsh, staccato post-punk racket that opening track â€˜Incinerate the Incineratorâ€™ incorporates. It skips under an almost jazzy beat and tappy drum patterns before lurching into this scuzzy breakdown of messy riffs and drum rolls which clatter their sound to pieces. The vocals switch from this weird yappy almost preppy delivery, to a strained squawking shriek, before dipping into an echoing, hollow wail beneath this almost grinding, lurch of post-hardcore noise. The scrappy, dilapidated sound is akin to that of Cap Nâ€™ Jazz in places, especially the drums, whilst the vocals give a nod towards the slight nasal tone of Tim Kinsella and his part-bird part terrified mouse vocal delivery.
â€˜Cheers De Beersâ€™ follows this skipping, bouncing jazz-beat that stops and starts thanks to the inclusion of somewhat misplaced but appreciated breakdowns in-between, which crunch and stutter between the odd vocal wails. Credit to the bassist who not only holds the song together, but even has time to deviate from the tune to throw in odd time signatures. The stabbing punch of the break at the minute mark falls almost into noise rock territory of churning yet dense power. Diamondsâ€™ vocalist Nathan then tries in vain to scream over the top (and succeeds, doing an impressive Jordan Blilie meets Keith Buckley roar) as it descends into this harsh, messy post-hardcore meets spazzcore nuance.
The opening yapping on â€˜The Nightlife Raped The Stourbridge Skeletonâ€™ is akin to that of a puppy that has been chucked in a tumbledryer on a high spin cycle, whilst the owner listens to Fugazi at a deafening volume. The drumming is pure Locust-cymbal crashes and rolling rasp, whilst the main body of this chorus-free 2 minutes, gives a direct nod towards Bedfordâ€™s Ice, Sea, Dead People in terms of trashy exuberance and cocky attitude.
Diamonds are difficult to pin down â€“ theyâ€™re like a cat that wonâ€™t sit still and take an injection â€“ playful and happy one minute, then itâ€™s all spitting, hissing and snarling. Some of the guitar work still retains their old, apparently grind sound â€“ itâ€™s harsh, scratching nature can be heard on â€˜Incinerate the Incineratorâ€™ quite clearly, whilst the bass balances this out by being the cleanest sounding instrument in the whole band; despite everything sounding incredibly scrappy but delightfully fresh.
Diamonds have apparently recorded a debut album called â€˜Girls Best Friendsâ€™ which has been mastered by Rory Bratwell, (aka him from Test Icicles), so expect to hear this aural chaos sometime this year.
By Ross Macdonald