Diamond - Don't Lose Your Cool (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Don't Lose Your Cool (2011)


When I read the press blurb saying that Diamond consisted of folk from bands including Trapped Under Ice and Down To Nothing, my immediate thought was that this would be more of the same head-splitting hardcore, taking no prisoners as it steamrolled along. However, what is patently obvious from the first 20 seconds of opening track "Sunburn" (the best song on the release by the way) is that that my preconceptions were about as far removed from the actuality as they could be. With a sugary sweet, thick melodic sound Diamond is clearly intent on creating songs that have more in common with Jimmy Eat World than any hardcore band you'd care to name. In fact, there are fleeting moments when I think I hear hints of Muse, which I find kind of disconcerting as that is a band I really cannot get into however much I hear of their overblown tripe.

Not that Diamond is dealing in tripe as this is all about big catchy songs that raise you up and bring you down, only to take to you back up again as they ebb and flow throughout the seven tracks. With Justin Gilman's vocals ranging from being all big and in your face to the more high pitched range found on "Fly Solo," this is clearly a band intent on, maybe unintentionally, following the paths previously trodden by the aforementioned Jimmy Eat World as well as the less (commercially) popular but significantly more agreeable likes of Punchbuggy and All Systems Go.

The title track provides the second biggest surprise in that it's a short a cappella offering which highlights the vocal skills of (presumably) the rest of the band in addition to Gilman's obviously versatile voice. Following this it's "The Feeling" and "Keep Dreamin'"‘with the latter certainly having its moments of sounding a bit like Jimmy Eat World, more from the melody within the vocals than anything else.

Some of these tracks would fit in with a lot of what the U.K.'s Boss Tuneage has released over the years with a pure pop-punk/alternative feel coming across with most of the songs. There is a quality and depth to the material which really does make it stand out and the vocal arrangements throughout are top notch if you like harmonies and backing vocals that play a big part in a song.

Damn it, I do have one complaint though--just when you think you've got your Top 25 list of 2011 releases nailed down, you get a latecomer like this jostling at the door looking for a spot of its own. It's doing its best to kick down that door. It's a tough call, but it's having a good go!

Apparently this will initially be a download but should be followed by CD/vinyl versions also.