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Free Diamonds

By the Sword

(Deep Elm; US: 24 Jul 2007; UK: 27 Aug 2007)

British trio Free Diamonds sounds like a folksy, tamer version of The Fratellis if they were influenced more by rockabilly and Bob Dylan records. Nonetheless, it is an very, very good album overall kicked off with the quirky but catchy “Backpack Escape Plan” that sounds like Violent Femmes if fronted by Tiny Tim. Meanwhile “Hugs and Kisses” is a tight, blazing piece of pop that shines throughout as is the hellishly fun, gear-changing “Flamingo!”. Short, crisp and sweet are the ideas that Free Diamonds brings to many of these nuggets, especially the melodic “Midnight Rainbow”. Although difficult to pick one highlight, “What’s With the Yes?” might be the winner here despite lasting less than two minutes. Things settle down somewhat with “Tumbling Tumbling Down” which doesn’t capture that early magic but things pick up again with “To Russia with Love” and the angular “Teen Magic”. Oh and one can’t forget the cheery “Jealous Panther” where they sing about dancing at your funeral with glee.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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