Blues, Country, and Bravado
Diamond Rugs, back with their sophomore album, once again give the listener a record full of grimy blues and country tinged indie rock. Their self titled debut was decidedly raw in the “undercooked” sense of the word rather than “unfiltered, genuine.” Thankfully, the affected lo-fi sound of the previous record has been left in the past. This time out, things are really gelling together.
“Killing Time” is easily the album’s top track. It’s hard to figure out what makes this song such a compelling listen; it’s a potent mix of deceptively simple elements that end up being greater than the sum of the parts. They start with a base made up of a two note guitar riff, a walking bass line, and chugging drums. On top of that are layered call and response vocals that evoke the outro of Iggy Pop’s “Success.” Finally, sparing helpings of acoustic guitar, organ stabs, and a scorching saxophone solo are sprinkled in.
“Blame” is also a standout with a decidedly country, almost Hank Williams Sr. flavor. The lyrics are tongue in cheek, and involve an almost archetypical unrepentant honky tonkin’ barfly. He’s blaming all his shortcomings and infidelities on the unfortunate woman he’s in a relationship with–a potentially abusive relationship at that, depending on how you interpret the last verse. The keyboard solo is strangely early 60’s space-age retro, like something from the “Telstar” era Tornados. In theory, it shouldn’t work, but through some strange magic it manages to fit.
Other standout tracks are “Thunk,” “So What,” and “Motel Room.” They all manage to marry a pop sensibility to gritty, swaggering rock. This record might take a few listenings to get into. Any time sitting down with something put out by a collection of musicians bearing the unfortunate “supergroup” label, there is always some inherent skepticism about what’s being listened to. Cosmetics manages to overcome that and stick to the listener.