Diamond Rugs, the super-group featuring members of Deer Tick, Black Lips, Los Lobos, Dead Confederate and Six Finger Satellite, released their self-titled debut album yesterday.
Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick), Ian Saint Pe (Black Lips), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate) and Bryan Dufresne (Six Finger Satellite) have quite some calibre between them including collaborations with the likes of Tom Waits, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello and The Replacements. Individual members can also boast multiple Grammy Awards and prime-time television appearances on the likes of Letterman, Leno and Later with Jools Holland.
The group began when McCauley and Dufresne met Saint Pé at a Black Lips show in Providence, RI. After a night of drinking beers together and discussing Rock ‘n’ Roll, the three of them decided to start a band. A couple of weeks later, McCauley attended a Los Lobos show (one of his all-time favourite bands) where he made his way backstage and met Steve Berlin. Once Berlin heard about the band, he wanted in and Diamond Rugs became official. Over the course of the next month, McCauley recruited Hardy Morris who had opened for Deer Tick on tour and Deer Tick’s Robbie Crowell to play bass on the album. From there, it naturally fell into place.
Now the band have released their first album and it is a marvellous mix of everything great about Rock ‘n’ Roll and modern country music. This self-titled debut, produced by Adam Landry and Justin Collins (Middle Brother, Deer Tick), features the unique elements of each musician which together forms something both familiar and fresh. It features Gimme A Beer which received heavy rotation on British radio stations at the tail end of 2012 but this isn’t the best track on the album by far.
Single Hightail kicks starts the debut off while track four Call Girl Blues really starts to bring in the true Rock ‘n’ Roll feel. It has a fantastic swing-a-long melody and tells the narrative of a man who misses his call girl. It’s a great little number which completely shows off how interesting this band is.
Country Mile is one of the heavier tracks on the album. It’s a lot darker than the other bubbly songs that come before it. It’s one of the more experimental tracks with the verses being distorted and unnerving but leading to a chorus that has particularly happy, upbeat music.
Totally Lonely is a fantastic track that is sure to bring nostalgic feelings for those of you who had the chance to experience the 60s. It’s like a mix of Elvis and Johnny Cash. The music is simple and it’s the vocals that carry this song to the forefront as a reminiscent song from the debut.
Blue Mountains sounds quite modern compared to the other tracks on the album. The beginning has a particularly Brit-pop 90s feel to it while the chorus strips it back to its country and Rock ‘n’ Roll roots. It has a great beat and even better lyrics that tell the story of two lovers who meet at a dance. It’s one of those tracks where you can read between the lines of the lyrics and produce your own romance and characters.
Blue Mountains is a track that stands out. Some of the other tracks blend into one but don’t be put off by this statement, the album is far from boring. Blue Mountains just breaks the repetition and freshens everything up for a superb last few tracks especially 100 Sheets that uses the old style Rock ‘n’ Roll echo on the vocals. The last track, Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant is easily something the Pogues may have written. The narrative is fantastic and the song itself completely separate from any of the songs on the debut. A real triumph.
Diamond Rugs have produced a flawless debut. There isn’t a song on there that is mediocre or plain. Every track entices the listener. Diamond Rugs do have a really unique sound. All they need to do now is ensure the big record companies don’t snatch them up and drain that out of them.
Diamond Rugs self-titled debut album is out now through Partisan Records.