Last year, Des Moines band Diamonds For Eyes released a little under the radar album called The Era of Our Ways that I really liked (I reviewed it here). What I liked best about that album is the way it would seamlessly introduce a different genre almost on a track by track basis. The musical schizophrenia was almost a plus that made the album more interesting than what a normal dirty pop-rock album would normally sound like.
On their newest album, Catacomb Fires, Diamonds For Eyes loses a bit of the schizophrenia, but what they lack in genre jumping, they make up for in a focused, well made and oddly fun album to listen to. And while I don’t like it in the same way I liked Era, I do like it very much. It is a little more of a early classic rock album, on occasion even classic country. The focused sound helps with the whiplash effect and kind of soothes the listen a bit more than their previous. However, the vocals, which I think make for the most interesting part of both albums, haven’t changed much.
Lead Singer Josh Putney has a very Tom Morello is The Nightwatchman voice; baritone, deep and gruff. Sometimes, it can seem mean and unwelcoming. Almost with a sense of doom. Even when the track doesn’t need to be foreboding or threatening. Sometimes, it comes across a bit somber, almost like an 80′s goth crooner. A good kind of depressing. What his voice never is, though is boring. Even on a track like “Honesty”, which sounds a little bit like an 80′s rock anthem like Toto or The Cars, his voice is haunting where it could be jaunty. It is an interesting choice and adds for a cool uniqueness.
The big addition to this album is the guitar work of Conrad Bascom. Formerly of The Chatty Cathys, Bascom adds a lead guitar that really shows the new focus of the band and what they can do and helps punctuate their sound.
I liked this album, but I also really like their last one. I may have to listen to both a few more times to really decide which one I liked more, but a more focused Diamonds For Eyes definitely created a gem.
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