By the Sword
When listening to Free Diamonds on your home stereo, your significant other will either bounce up and down with giddy child-like glee, or very quickly ask you to “please put on your headphones; that’s really confusing me.” As their bio warns, their music incites very hot or cold reactions and there’s very little room for in-between. I myself go back and forth depending on my state of mind. This evening I’m feeling rather courageous and so my review is as follows:
To say that By The Sword takes chances is to say that the demand for the 7th Harry Potter book is sorta high. The Newcastle, England trio — whose sophomore release also includes brilliant guest vocals by Gemma Andrews — sound to have snorted espresso, chased it with vodka shots and ran into the studio in the dark to experiment with knobs, pedals and effects buttons… ya know, but catchy. They make artistic free-form dance funk that could fit into the dance clubs and the punk dives.
Without the polish of Tapes ‘n’ Tapes, or the screaming frenzy of XBXRX, Free Diamonds reside somewhere in between these two bands. Twitchy vocals, unexplainable sound combinations, and the ear of a 12-year-old with an attention problem, songs like “Teen Magic” and “Hugs & Kisses” are just too interesting to dismiss — though catch me on another day and I may write it all off as a bunch of anxiety inducing crap.
Coming really out of left field, the album is closed with a Ween-ish, folk number complete with harmonica, “My Boxing Days Are Over.”
Deep Elm Records: www.deepelm.com