I’m of two minds on this album. It’s a really tough nut to crack.
On the plus side, I like most of these songs. They’re straight-ahead rockers full of confident rhythms, strong guitars, a tight rhythm section, and prominent keyboards. The production value is great; every instrument fits into the whole just as it should, the songs are fully-formed products, everything’s super accessible, and these songs would fit very well on classic rock, indie rock, or just modern rock radio.
On the negative side, everything is a little too polished. That in itself isn’t really a problem, but the band seems to lack a personality, and so all that really nice sheen and polish on the album makes it seem like they were assembled in a factory or a board room.
The band shines the best when it rocks the hardest. The two full hearts, “Heart Attack” and “Don’t Forget Sister” are the fastest, heaviest tracks. When they slow it down, as on This Is Your Life,” “Annie,” or “Actions Are Actions,” they tend to get weighed down by their own pretensions. The singer’s gaspy vocals are a bit too affected and otherwise very good songs, like “This Is Your Life” or “Wasted” get dragged down by one section too many that doesn’t achieve what it reaches for.
Low vs Diamond doesn’t have anything new to say. They’re like a Cutting Crew from the 80’s mixed with, say, a Collective Soul from the 90’s mixed with The Joshua Tree-era U2 (the guitars sound a lot like The Edge). But what they are saying they’re saying really well. If you don’t look too closely at it, this is a really enjoyable listen, and even when you do look closely at it it stands up pretty well.
– “Don’t Forget Sister,” “Heart Attack”
– “Killer B,” “Cinema Tonight/Interlude,” “Song We Sang Away,” “Wasted,” “Save Yourself,” “I’ll Be”
– “This Is Your Life,” “Actions Are Actions,” “Annie”
Filed Between: Low (Secret Name) and The Lucky Stars (Hollywood & Western)
Song Notes: After the jump
- Don’t Forget Sister –
- Killer B –
- This Is Your Life – I like it fine now, but I have a feeling this might wear on me after a few listens. That guitar with delay already feels kind of dumb.
- Cinema Tonight/Interlude –
- Actions Are Actions – Gets really boringly repetitive by end. I hate this.
- Heart Attack –
- Song We Sang Away – Probs open. “Hey Montana/I miss you”
- Wasted – Really cool start.
- Save Yourself –
- Annie – Lame. “I know in your heart there is loss, Dear”
- I’ll Be –