Diamond Rings is a one-man Canadian electro-pop artist (named John O’Reagan) who looks like Vanilla Ice beat up David Bowie and writes lyrics like an optimistic Ian Curtis. Plus, with a voice reminiscent of The National’s Matt Berninger and more synthesizers than are probably necessary, Diamond Rings’ sophomore release Free Dimensional is a more upbeat and energetic effort than 2010′s Special Affections.
Written after a stint of hospitalization for Crohn’s disease, Free Dimensional proves O’Reagan’s capable of emulating some bigger dogs than himself:
this art school grad has strayed far from his indie days of playing in Toronto’s The D’Urbervilles.
“(I Know) What I’m Made Of” aches of Depeche Mode, leaving listeners with a sense that O’Reagan’s found his own comfortable niche in the electro-pop world. That is, until the rap verse comes in shortly after.
This is an album that is longing for both the New Wave bands of the past and some sort of contemporary genre fusion, but it’s lack of commitment to either may leave you confused after all the keyboard riffs have come and gone.