More Like One Dimensional
Diamond Rings, a solo project from Toronto based musician John O’Regan, has formulated all the makings of a dance party circa 1986 on his second album Free Dimensional. That includes his shiny retro suits, big hair, and monotone Joy Division-esque vocals. And while the hooks are infectious, the dance tempo is upbeat, and the pop factor is turned up to 11, fans of music actually made in the ’80s might find the album a bit derivative.
That’s not to say that having ’80s influence and motifs in your music is a bad thing, but unlike say The Killers when they first came out, Diamond Rings doesn’t add anything new or exciting to the genre. Instead the songs fluctuate between what sounds like rip offs of everyone from The Ramones, Joy Division/New Order, to Depeche Mode and even Lady Gaga.
“I’m Just Me,” the standout track on the album, begins with a pulsing beat and deep, monotone vocals and quickly becomes a giddy club anthem akin in sound (and subject matter) to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” (which ironically she was accused of plagiarizing Madonna). The song is infectious and demands to be danced to. Most of the songs on the album feature a similar structure, but two notable tracks that deviate from this formula are “Runaway Love,” and “I Know What I’m Made Of.” On “Runaway Love,” it seems as though O’Regan changes tunes completely and no longer sounds like he’s fronting a cover band of Depeche Mode, but instead has opted for The Ramones. There is less synth and more rock. “I Know What I’m Made Of,” on the other hand continues the synth pop motif but goes a step further and adds a Vanilla Ice inspired rap halfway through the song.
Free Dimensional has some fun tracks that any European discotheque would love to spin. Taken at sheer face value it’s a good dance album for those that don’t like the standard hip hop and R&B normally played in clubs. However, if you’re looking for something more, you’d be better suited to listen to Gaga or even She Wants Revenge.