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Synth Album Review: "Diamond Field" by Diamond Field

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Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!

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Initial Impressions

Diamond Field’s self-titled album is a pop-infused, retro-inspired musical journey through a lush, well-produced soundscape. It is full of strong melodies, superb vocal and instrumental performances and well-written lyrics. There’s a dynamic energy to the music that captures the best qualities of ‘80s synthpop while avoiding becoming a pastiche.

The first observation I’ve got about this album is the stunning depth and breadth of musical talent they’ve brought to bear on the album. Each different vocalists gives a superb performance, many of them wrote their own lyrics and all of them contributed to the vocal compositions and arrangements. The instrumental performances from tremendous guitar solos to flying synth solos are also absolutely top tier in their musicality and execution.

The originator of Diamond Field, Andy Diamond, works musical magic on this album. He manages to create music that bursts with the verve and dynamism of the ‘80s without relying on tired clichés. He integrates all of the different musical elements into a cohesive, ear-catching whole that blends the retro and the modern seamlessly to create something fresh and engaging.

The sheer sound quality of Diamond Field’s self-titled album is another factor that took hold of my ears and wouldn’t let go. This album has pin-sharp production that gives each musical element clear definition while still integrating them all into one clean, ear pleasing whole. It’s clear to me that deep care and attention went into creating the highest quality soundscape possible on the album.

My Favourite Songs Analyzed

“New Situation” starts off with minor key, metallic chimes move in a dense pattern of rapidly shifting notes before the drums hit hard and propel the track forward. Bright chimes sing out and flicker in a melody that has an energetic quality as Nina Luna’s poppy, airy voice slides over the strong, locked together pulse of drums, bass and synth. I am enamoured of the contrasting positive feeling of the melody set against the the shadowed lyrics, Elevated, metallic chimes glimmer as the guitar, bass and drums launch the music forward again.

The chimes flicker quickly as the pulse of the track keeps on moving as Nina Luna’s clear and expressive voice rises. There’s a break to surging, metallic chimes and hard hitting drums as Andy Diamond’s electric guitar adds body and the shimmering light of the synths wriggles through. Bright, dense guitar sings out in a solo that bursts and leaps before returning to Nina Luna’s smooth, rising vocal tones.

A cautionary tale about the dangerous allure of celebrity unfolds in this song. The narrator tells us that now she finds the city “full of strangers” and cold streets, but before she “got old” she was in the spotlight. The narrator goes on to say that she was adored, but “no matter what they gave me, I just had to have more.”

As she looks into the mirror, she wonders if she’s still the same person who is “lost in all the glory and the fame.” The narrator talks about making all of her choices “in the dead of night.” She refers to someone whose face she could no longer see, for whom she “couldn’t make it right.” Now our narrator is looking for a “new situation” and waiting for a “better conversation” in another town which is the “usual story” for her.

The narrator warns us that one day you’re “their latest prize” and then they are done with you, “leave you high and dry.” She is driven to get away from the scene that she finds herself in again and again. The narrator points out that it “ain’t no show and it’s no movie.” She urges people to take a look at her and not just “in the pages of an old magazine.” Once the narrator had it made but now “no one wants to know you when the bright lights fade.”

Escape has been rendered impossible as our narrator “tried to run away but it was just too late. Tried to walk away but there was no debate.” She tried to make her getaway possible but she could only pretend. Once more, the narrator is looking for that “new situation” because she doesn’t “wanna hear another fabrication” or be “another imitation.”

A rapidly rippling string-like sound, clear and sharply bright, moves in metallic cascades of notes as “Bring Back Love” comes to life. A jazzy piano comes in as brightly flashing trumpets play quick bursts of similarly jazz-inflected notes. The piano chords have an urgent drive to them and I dig the funky energy of the brass. Michael J. Ruys’ vocals are strong, expressive and full of the best sort of retro vibes.

Dynamic piano chords shift while the brass section punctuates the energetic vocal melody. The drums underpin the whole thing with a throbbing pulse. In the breakdown, the metallic ripple, the wordless vocals, edged synth give way to a jazzy, punchy brass section melody that sings out, full of light as now the piano’s driving, angular chords repeat and we’re back to the chorus and those crisp A section horns cutting in while the drums, bass and piano all move together.

Using the metaphor of storytelling in television and movies, this song lays out the story of a relationship in trouble. The narrator’s story begins at a critical point when there’s “no more action, show is over.”

He talks about how the woman in the song has locked him out and taken “the keys to my pride.” The narrator explains that he’s got nothing without her love, so he wants to know how to “fix up all this mix up.” He’s taken an “L” because of what he’s put her through and talks about seeing “the story’s ending, no season two.”

In the chorus, the narrator asks if there’s any chance to “bring back love.” He goes on to tell her she can take his money, his car and his house if she’ll bring back her love. He says, “All this acrimony is tearing me apart” and pleads with her to show him how he can repair things.

Our narrator realizes that he’s been foolish to think that he couldn’t lose. I especially enjoy how he talks about being “disconnected, brain neglected” and losing his mind. He adds that he knows he’s “messed up all of my scenes with you” but points out that they had “crazy ratings on our debut.”

Now the narrator adds hopeful note about changing the story and writing a new one. I also like the lyric that says they can "silence all the critics, cynics, even physics with our love.” The narrator adds, “be my leading lady and I’ll be your Bogart.” He says the show is worth saving so “baby, won’t you bring back love?”

“Glowing In The Dark” kicks off with descending cascades of full, trumpeting synth that fall through the soundscape of the song. I enjoy the melody’s verve, propulsion and shine as it comes in over the smoothly scudding beat. The urgent, shifting synth pulse has a wonderful ‘80s sound, to it adding dynamic feelings as Miriam Clancy’s warm, enfolding vocals call out over shimmering, bursting synth with a hollow pipe-like quality. There’s a feeling of possibility and yearning that fills the lyrics while the charging throb goes on.

The drums and bass propel the track along with a sharp-edged synth pattern that cuts in along with growling electric guitar chords and jangling chimes that accent the music, rising in shining moments. The beat relentlessly pounds and the guitar notes leap in and fade out only to leap in again. A surging pulse of medium-high synth keeps the motion going and the melody reaches out. Airy, glittering synths jump in and out along with a slower beat as all the musical elements shift together.

Strong and interesting verbal imagery fills this song. The narrator speaks of something “daylong” as the “yearling teeters on the edge” creating a feeling of uncertainty. She talks about how it’s “never lost, unearthing.” The lyrics create their own rhythm in this song.

She asks, “Is that your real name? Is that your real heart?” A sense of something bright and hopeful emanates as she says, “It’s written on your face. You’re glowing in the dark.” The words create a powerful image of growing light in the line, “it’s coming off in waves and rolling back to you.”

The narrator adds that belief is hard when one has nothing left to lose. I am especially drawn in by the rich imagery in the words, “You’re glowing in the dark. Feel the call, the burn, the beat. Lure you out to sea.” She goes on to say that after everything’s gone wrong and “they’ve all gone home” if you try to feel something, the feeling will be gone. She ends on the idea that “you’ve even lost the words.:

The drums hit as a spinning, growing line of thick sound echoes out along with flickering, elevated synth to kick off “Spills Like Love.” A quick, shifting bassline writhes below the spinning arpeggios. I deeply enjoy the mixture of Cody Carpenter'’s full, gentle voice with his intriguing lyrics and vocal melody that yearns in this song. A trumpeting, rising synth calls out in shiny notes and now the glimmering synths flutter.

The caressing feeling of the vocals express his words strongly as the drum and bass pulse adds more energy. The drums and bass have weight behind the mixture of soaring voices while brassy synth sings out. Cody Carpenter’s jazzy synth solo further lifts the music, creating a cloud of full light as it rises. The final segment imbues the song with more uplifting power.

This song spins out images of metaphysical calm and spiritual seeking. The narrator begins by talking about “the light of ages past” that is “subtle, warm, embracing” as it calms “like a pulse” and goes rippling through our being. Aching emotion fills the words as our narrator speaks of his craving for solace found through “moments long entwined within our mesh of form” as they guide our current thoughts.

There’s yearning as the narrator talks about wanting everyone to know “a vision so true, a mortal sanctuary.” He adds that he wants them to also know “a longing in defense” as walls are torn down so that they are “pouring out our substance” that “spills like love.” Our narrator wants that love to “requite some things we feel at a distance” and to “bring our hearts together, breathe as one for all time.”

“It’s Your Time” The drums hit hard and sunny, flashing synth drives in a dense dynamic burst of melodic chords. A quickly rippling, glittering pattern of light-filled synth dances through over the strong, steady drums and bass flow below. The track jumps along as a line of spinning, repeating medium-high synth shines in a propulsive pattern. I enjoy how rich Becca Starr’s voice is with pop sensibilities and how she sings with a sense of fun. A descending line of chiming synth swells into the music while the drums imbue it with even more life.

Becca Starr’s vocals soar out in an uplifting and motivational vocal melody, calling out over the sparkling, flowing chimes. The beat leaps on and the electric bass adds more depth to the glowing, triumphant melody. Elevated chiming synth carries an angular, whirling melodic line while the solid electric bass shifts under he flying vocals. A leaping, freewheeling, heart-lifting guitar solo moves in before the song fades out.

This song is pure pop sunshine and fun. The lyrics have a great uplifting quality as the narrator begins by pointing out that “you wanna know just how to get it, better hope you don’t regret it.” She talks about taking a chance on “the winning ticket” and jumping in, eyes closed.

The positive vibes go on as she cries out that “it’s your time…and the race is never over” because you’re “always lookin’ for that four-leaf clover. A sense of urgency fills the lyrics as the narrator says, “gotta run or take the fall” because there’s no forward motion if your back is on the wall.

Our narrator fills her words with hope and support as she says, “I got you covered, I got your hand” and reassures that in the future, “I know you’ll understand.” She adds that “looking forward and not behind will get us through this grand design."

I also enjoy the strong picture that is painted by the lyric, “sneakers walk under the sky, city streets rest nearby” as once more the narrator talks about them sleeping with only the distance of a kiss between them.

A slow-moving, angular pattern of tight, medium-high, metallic synth that ripples along with a swelling chant-like vocal sound opens “A Kiss Apart.” An organ-like synth carries a melody tinged with melancholy and a dreamy feeling.

I am drawn to Belinda Bradley’s unique, engaging and lush voice as it carries a mysterious melody. Round, organ-like notes ring out, feeling warmer, as the chorus flies up, hopeful and positive.

The throbbing beat and a very active bassline add more forward motion as the organ melody reaches out, full of good vibes. A flashing, medium-high synth sings out with a golden glow and Belinda Bradley’s vocals are strong and fresh. A soaring, rising organ solo flows into the song and a lambent sound dances out around the vocals as the beat keeps on moving.

I was enamoured of the poetic sensibility inherent in the lyrics of this song. The narrator begins by creating a beautiful image in the words, “inside a parlor made of dreams, there is a theatre without screens.” She goes on to talk about a room inside the other person’s heart “where we sleep a kiss apart.”

Powerful, triumphant feelings flow from the chorus of the song as “we ride the stars so high in the field of light.” There’s a feeling of possibility and hope as the narrator speaks of making the world alright “as we kill the night.”

Another dream-like image forms out of the lines, “inside a pool that has no sides and I am the girl it sits beside.” Once again the narrator talks about the room inside the other’s heart where they sleep a kiss apart.

“Used To Be” starts off with a classic ‘80s style drumbeat and whirling notes repeating in a full, nasal pattern are joined by guitar drive and pipe-like synth that leaps and skips along. I am pulled in by the poppy quality, power and strong retro vibe of Chelsea Nenni’s vocals. Quick bursts of full-voiced synth cut in with some slap bass that moves underneath. The vocal melody is doubled by the shining synth as the pipe-like sound shimmers and flows.

The vocals keep up the high energy level, tripping along with the quickly moving beat as the drums keeping all the musical elements moving forward. The synths and Chelsea Nenni’s voice lift in a glittering cloud before the guitar solo comes in. The solo creates a feeling of sunshine on my skin, of a future opening up in front of me.

When a deep relationship ends, the fallout takes some time and struggle to work through. This song explores those feelings that are left behind. The narrator is firm as she says “I meant what I said, it’s not gonna change” and that the other person isn’t going to tell her that she’s wrong.

Denial enters the mix as she asks the subject of the song to get out of her head because she doesn’t want to admit or “believe (that) you’ve gone.” She goes on to say that she’s learning to live alone again and “sewing the pieces I can mend.”

Acceptance dawns as she realizes “there’s no you and me” but instead there’s “a hole in my heart where you used to be.” She feels left “alone in the dark” because the other person has “shaded all the sun.” The song ends in a twist because the moment she left, the other begged her to stay, so she knew that she was done.

Bright lines of synth with a string instrument quality climb in choppy motion as a guitar howls out to kick off “Out Here For Love.” The bouncing, throbbing beat propels rapid, wandering lines of glimmering synth while the guitar cuts through in a gritty line. Matthew J. Ruys’s voice is strong, full of expression and a rocking aesthetic as the beat charges in an uneven pattern and the high synths jangle and jump.

The guitar growls and howls, cutting in as the beat bursts and flows. I enjoy how Matthew J. Ruys’ voice fits so well with the energy and motion of the other musical elements in the song. Sharp-edged, medium-high synths carry a rapidly floating melody before Andy Diamond’s guitar solo leaps in intricately whirling lines as his fingers fly. The song returns to the uneven, throbbing soundscape as the metallic synths intertwine and add more light to the track.

This song tells the story of a person who is full of passion, seeking fulfillment and capable of getting what she wants. The narrator starts out saying that “she’s out here on the streets, getting caught up in the sheets” but she never runs or turns away.

Our narrator goes on to point out that she’s “out there every day, tryin’ to find a better way” as she goes right to the edge and hangs on by a thread. He adds that she’s “out here waiting for you, there’s nothing else she can do” because she’s “out here for love, on fire for love.”

I particularly enjoy the word play in the line, “It’s a hell of thing when her heaven’s around.”

The narrator goes on to say that she’s “looking all around for the love she hasn’t found” so you shouldn’t let her get away. It isn’t strictly your choice, as he points out that when “she’s got you in her sights, you won’t put up a fight” so there’s no more time to waste. He adds that “she’s looking for a one time chance, just no time for a second glance.”

Conclusion

Diamond Field calls the music that they make “21st Century ‘80s music” and I don’t disagree at all. It has all of the ear pleasing qualities that fans of ‘80s music find so compelling combined with the kind of wonderful audio quality now available to dwellers of the 21st Century. It goes deeper than that by fusing musical elements in a way that is modern, deeply retro and quite enjoyable.

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