By: Django Gold
It is a well-treaded cliché that specialization and not generalization is the key to success in a given field—jack of all trades, master of none, and all that. For the Diamond Mines, who label themselves a New Wave/Psychedelic/Punk act, it is a maxim they might want to consider. The Diamond Mines is not a bad band by any stretch: their sound is tasteful, and the band’s musicians, a guitar-bass-drums core in addition to a number of guest horn players, are certainly competent, if not outstanding. The problem lies in consistency; there just isn’t much of a common musical theme that emerges when listening to their songs. They frequently switch (not transition) from pop-punk, surf rock, new wave, alt-country, and many other genres, more often than not within the same song. Impressive, but in the end it doesn’t assist the songs themselves in any ways, but rather simply comes off as confusing, even frustrating.
Take “Hostile Planet,” which begins much like a solid Cake number, but goes through too many shifts in mood to remain engaging. Similarly, a number like “Places I Go,” which certainly has its share of nice moments, overlaps itself throughout, and ends up too jumbled to be of much interest. A better track is “Another,” which combines a driving rocker feel with some nicely chosen saxophone parts, achieving a solid balance. The Diamond Mines have potential, but their fragmented songwriting and lack of overt hooks is going to make them a difficult pick up for many listeners.