Diamond has said to be heavily influenced by 90′s alternative music, skateboarding and girls and it shows. Don’t be fooled by the member’s hailing bands; they sound nothing like them. Very few things in this industry please me more than a side project that DOESN’T sound exactly like the members’ other projects. Hooray! However, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I received the Don’t Lose Your Cool EP for review. The group features members of Trapped Under Ice and Down to Nothing/Terror, but sounds more like…. Jimmy Eat World than any of those bands. Fucked up, right? I’m a huge hardcore fan and I KNOW they’re adored, but I am NOT a JEW fan (that’s Jimmy Eat World you ASSHOLES!)… so when I read that I was thinking…. OH CRAP. But I give pretty much everyone and everything the benefit of the doubt and try not to trip so I gave her a spin… or eleven.
A solid year after their debut EP, DMDM, this record is an excellence release that these boys need to be proud of. Baltimore hasn’t given us much (shut up), but they have been pooping out bands lately that I can’t stop listening to, and Diamond is no exception. Although some members of the band are from Chicago and whatnot… since half are from Baltimore, we’ll just stick with that one.
2. Fix Of Mine
3. Fly Solo
4. Don’t Lose Your Cool
5. The Feeling
6. Keep Dreamin’
Let’s begin with the first track, Sunburn. This is our introduction to the band, and it gives the listener a pretty good, well-rounded idea of their sound. However, after listening to the rest of the album, I must say this isn’t my favorite track and you shouldn’t give up on the record if you’re not into it. A good thing about this track is that it showcases Gilman’s vocals. His voice is so smooth, it’s easily compared to that of Jeff Buckley or Rivers Cuomo. They have that alt-rock sound that has great potential for mass appeal. Personally, I prefer hardcore music to most genres, but I think it’s obvious Diamond has way more mainstream potential than any other band these guys have touched. That can be taken good or bad, depending on how “too cool for school” you are.
Fix of Mine rolls up next, and I think this is already a better track. It has a little more catchiness to it while still displaying the band’s mellow-appeal. At this point, one might still be on the fence with the album because it doesn’t really blow you away. Many TUI/DTN fans will be checking this record out, and I fear that they will be not-so-nice due to it’s drastic decrease in hardcore-ness. But it’s that reason I applaud these guys; they weren’t afraid to sound different or do something that they probably KNEW their solidified fans might not be into. GOOD FUCKING JOB!
The third track slows down the tempo even more. Fly Solo brings a heavy Jimmy Eat World sound into the mix, with the roller coaster vocal riffs (tttIIiiiIIiIImmmmme). This song is….. cute. The lyrics are clearly about a breakup, and they’re pretty much relatable to anyone (which is something that I think fans will be into). This is another track that gives Gilman that smooth cred. This guy’s voice is just superb. I bet he gets all the ladies.
One act that I’m yet to see this band compared to that I thought of was the Foo Fighters. I KNOW, SHUT UP. I’m not saying he sounds like Grohl, because he doesn’t. But The Feeling sounded like it could easily be a mellow Foo Fighters song, and that is a HUGE compliment, given that the Foo’s can sell out two nights at the Forum in a shitty economy. GO DAVE, GO. This is definitely a catchy track and has a little more guitar than the others, so that lets ol’ S. TRAP’ have a chance to maybe jump on the crowd and play to the ceiling. No? Well, alright then.
Keep Dreamin’ sounds very Weezer-ish for sure. I think this could possibly be one of my favorites on the album. I really like Gilman’s voice in this one, they’re a little less mellow and more of him just belting the lyrics. The end of the track has vocals from what sounds like a 13 year old boy, and I haven’t a clue who it is. OH WELL.
The ending track, Pleasantries, sounds like something straight out of a 60′s sock-hop. It’s another one that sounds very Weezer-influenced. It’s edgy but still slow and mellow and is probably the one of the first tracks I’d let someone listen to in order to display how UN-COMPARABLE Diamond is to the hardcore bands that these boys hail from.
Don’t Lose Your Cool is a great follow up to their first record, DMND (which you can actually download free HERE), and it drops digitally November 29th. Hit up their links below to keep up with tour dates and other cool shit from these dudes.