Diamond Hoo Ha
This album grabbed me immediately, from first until last second. Something which rarely happens these days, which means the album truly is great in my opinion. After the really grown up, but quite fragile 'Road To Rouen', the band is back with an album full of steaming rockers and solid pop songs. They seem to have returned to the days of 'In It For The Money' and 'Supergrass', without losing the maturity they've grown into since these albums. The melodies are very well arranged and performed with great care. The production is very good as well, with lots of subtle elements and details in it. If they had been away, this would be a great comeback. If the last albums were weak, they'd certainly have their revenge now. But as they've never been away and the last few albums weren't bad, all I can say is that they've made one of their finest albums so far, which is to surprise a lot of people.
Let's get a little closer, track by track:
Opener Diamond Hoo Ha Man
doesn't need any introduction. This straightforward rocker is similar to the single and sets the scene for things to come.
is also known, as it's the current single, with driving rhythm, wah wah guitars and subtle prominent keyboards. A great uptempo popsong.
Rebel In You
is a solid popsong, that starts off with heavy riffs and then steps on the brakes a bit in the key dominnated instrumentation. To go full throttle again in the chorusses. Very subtle.
When I Needed You
opens with a driving piano, later on joined by great guitarlines. The sounds turns heavier at times, while the bridge is quite like 'Wings' during their 'London Town'-period. The solo has some backwards guitar and adds some light to the music, as do the chorusses.
is a very great song that appeared on the flipside of 'Diamond Hoo Ha Man' 7" last january. It starts off acoustically and rocks like hell in the chorusses. The verses have great sparse arrangements, which adds to the pleasant tension.
The Return Of...
is a fine example of the great care that was taken when the album was mixed. A midtempo popsong that starts off with keyboards and is mainly guitar and keyboard structured. The keys are soulfull and the drums played and mixed very subtle in the chorusses. Great harmonies and a strange, but moodfull sax somewhere halfway.
is another great popsong, with lively keyboards over a driving fuzzy bass. Throughout the song great touches of 80's pop. Brilliant!
Ghost Of A Friend
seems to be describing some kind of a dream. Lead vocals by Danny, who really does a good job here. Pearl joins in for a few words, while Gaz and Mick add beautifull fitting harmonies and Rob delivers some very soulfull bits of keyboard. This enhances this not too outstanding track a lot. The chorus reminds me melodic-wise a bit of 'Instant Karma'.
Whiskey & Green Tea
starts oodly at first run and immediately seems to confirm the idea that it's the usual Danny-song. the oriŽntal sounding introduction could very well be taken from 'Coco Rosie', while the 'parapam'-chorusses and horns-part sounds like a cabaret from Brecht from the 1930's. This all leads into a great rocking popsong, with loads of eastern sounding keys, rocking guitars and a very frantic, but truly amazing sax solo. First I thought it was inspired by their 'Being Pop Festival'-appearance of 2006, but listening to the lyrics a bit closer, the inspiration seems to come from a book or a movie. But which one?
got a not too convincing earlier release on the i-Tunes-ep last february, but appears here in it's full blown glory: a great popsong, with bright keyboards and a driving bass. The singing reminds me a bit of 'Rocks And Boulders' by 'The Jennifers', while the chorusses and 'Oh-ohs' in Kaiser Chief-style add greatly to this track.
opens with keyboards and turns into a piano and guitar-driven melody, with lots of atmosphere from both 'In It For The Money' and 'Supergrass', with distant echoes of 'Heroes' by David Bowie. A great ending for this album, which makes you want to hear more.
Leo Hoek van Dijke - 21 March 2008