[7 April 2008]
At one point on The Diableros’ wonderful track “Kicking Rocks”, vocalist Pete Carmichael repeats the phrase “I don’t care how punk rock you want to be / It just doesn’t mean anything here to me.” Carmichael may not care, but listeners should care about how punk The Diableros really are. The Toronto natives cannot be described as heirs to the musical legacy of The Ramones or The Clash but using a looser, more aesthetic definition of the term, the band is very punk in their approach to their second album. Defying norms in the organization of songs and the weaving together of seemingly disparate influences, the band is unafraid to push limits on what is, ultimately, a nearly flawless project. Taking bits and pieces from styles like alt.country, post-punk and lo-fi as well as eras/movements such as ‘90s alternative rock, the band is able to construct some gloriously epic tunes and yet still come across as down-to-earth. Guitars, both jangly and fuzzed-out mix with organ, bass and drums to present both psychedelic and straight-ahead rock textures. Tracks like “Any Other Time” and “Turning Backwards” advance the band’s vision and stand out as the best moments on the record. Well-played and well-realized, Aren’t Ready for the Country is a testament to what can happen when an artist has the freedom and the instincts to create something unique.