There are many qualities that make a certain sound or style spectacular, and one of my favorites is its level of fun. Indie rock group Diamond Rugs certainly hits the nail on the head with this factor on their new album Cosmetics. For just a sophomore album, Diamond Rugs take advantage of the flexibility in their genre, creating a niche of laidback fun, exploring harder sounds, and fitting in with the big guys in the genre.
The quirkiness of this band becomes immediately present on the opening track “Voodoo Doll”. The catchy horn sections and lyrical dictation provide for the slacker niche Diamond Rugs carry so well. Super dance-y and upbeat, the band takes ownership of a unique style that isn’t commonly perfected. They put their trademark on tracks like “Live and Shout It” with a cheery, cohesive chorus, and express their free spirited beliefs on “Blame” (“Say what you will, what you know is true / love’s not fun if you live by the rules”). This carefree style they are empowering is a solid way to reach a wide spread of genre fans, considering its vast versatility.
Diamond Rugs pull off this lax style really well, but cleverly use Cosmetics to create more depth and interest for overall listeners. As I listen to tracks like “Thunk” or “Couldn’t Help It”, subtle influences from major acts like Arctic Monkeys or The Black Keys are noticeable – especially when Diamond Rugs dive into harder rock components of their instrumentals. “Couldn’t Help It” noticeably shifts from complicated, distinct guitar riffs to a more folk sounding melody, which surprising works extremely well in its case. “Killin’ Time” has the perfect mix of classic influences in the vocals and guitar and a celebratory “raise a glass” type of chorus to impress listeners with their dynamic structure. They successfully blend their big band sound, filled with instruments like the saxophone, with more raw riffs and rhythms, mending together a perfect bridge between originality and popularity.
Cosmetics certainly is the album to prove that Diamond Rugs have quite a lot up their sleeves, especially a fine taste in indie rock. The rock and roll elements of this album range from a multitude of styles to a strict, and pleasing, style and sound, regardless of which specific direction. When Diamond Rugs move away from their niche, they are still able to capitalize on their clear talents, coming up with power tracks like “Meant To Be”. The deep and grooving guitar riff that opens the track is a classic moment on Cosmetics. “Ain’t Religion” also holds strong importance on the record as well. The intoxicating guitar riffs under the gliding melodic hook introduce a classic indie rock song that has the potential to play in the big leagues. Diamond Rugs are certainly up to something.
Cosmetics is exactly what a successful sophomore album should be. It secures the band’s unique style, experiments in all the right ways, and results in a tremendous variety of music. The skills and talents of Diamond Drugs have full potential to dominate the indie rock music scene – and I hope to see it happen soon.