Review: Free Diamonds – By the Sword

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Label: Deep Elm Records

Released: August 27, 2007

Anything with any post-punk influence is bound to be pretty angular, but Free Diamonds take it to a new level. They focus on rhythm to the point that everything, voice included, is a rhythm instrument, giving the entire album a very polyrhythmic effect along the lines of Sound Affects-era Jam and the jazzier moments of the Minutemen. This band isn’t a one-trick pony either. In addition to post-punk, there is clear evidence of ska and jazz and, in a peculiarly modern way, rockabilly. That last influence is the most subtle, yet perhaps the most interesting, because it, along with the folky closing track, serves to tie their very modern sound back to the roots of rock n roll. There’s also hints of dance (albeit a pretty frantic dance) and English hip-hop that conjure up a fair amount of fun in the midst of the album’s angst and serve to move both the feet and the soul. The vocals are likely the one think that may divide listeners. The screeching, fast talking style is a key part of the band’s skewed approach and it certainly prevents anyone from enjoying the music passively, but its grating nature is likely to alienate as many people as it embraces. Still, By the Sword, with all its beautifully jagged edges and irrepressible frenetic energy, stands head and shoulders above the masses of other bands schooled on similar record collections.

Rating: 8/10



About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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