Special Affections Special Affections


Diamond Rings Diamond RingsSpecial Affections

7.4 / 10

Diamond Rings Special Affections SECRET CITY RECORDS

Once upon a time, there was a flaming, pretentious Canadian who, possessed by the spirit of Fluoro and MAC eye shadow, wanted to get into the world of low-cost electronic pop. This might be the first thing that comes to mind when you see John O’Regan stepping out in various video clips , cult documents in the form of thrash choreographies, that he has been regaling us with in recent months. When “All Yr Songs” came into our lives, some thought we were just looking at an extremist version—aesthetically speaking—of the “I want to, but I can’t” which became of Frankmusik. But Diamond Rings is very different. Leaving aside the visual aspect –and let’s be honest: Bowie did much more for the history of tranvestism than Ru Paul–O’Regan’s project can stand on its own, musically speaking. Beyond the androgyny and dubious sexual identity, Diamond Rings shows that with a simple computer and very little money, you can put out highly addictive songs.O’Regan isn’t a musical novice. Along with The D’Urbevilles he has played in Canadian dives under the post-punk flag, offering something radically different from what he is presenting us with through this alter ego. As he himself has explained in several interviews, the songs in “Special Affections” were supposed to be performed in a folk style. But, after trying his luck with the Garage Band and buying a laptop, he made a decision to join in and follow the doctrine of do-it-yourself. During the time he has had us on tenterhooks waiting for his debut, he was supposed to be signed by Tomlab, but in the end it was Secret City Records who managed to win the day– he had time to go on tour with Owen Pallett, strengthen his ties to PS I Love You, and even do a cover of Milla Jovovich’s “Gentleman Who Fell”, a song from when the actress-model also fancied herself as a singer. He’s decided to do without, though, the steamy hit “Show Me Your Stuff”, with it’s chorus that seemed to be a small step away from “Pop” (N Sync).The best thing is O’Regan’s voice, which has a baritone air without being that at all. But obviously, over the course of “Special Affections”, there comes a time when the precariousness of the production makes some songs suffer when, with a little more cash, they could really have put many of the revitalisers of 80’s pop to shame. Setting aside those repetitive beat boxes that are everywhere—we suppose that this will be resolved in the future, when there is a bigger budget—O’Regan understands perfectly the structure that a pop song needs to have to make it: marked, catchy choruses (“All Yr Songs”), melodies that don’t make you think any more than necessary ( “Wait and See”), and a chorus that bands of mods out on the town can sing together at the top of their lungs ( “On Your Own”). He also gives us a glimpse of his sad piano melodrama and crooner’s voice in “Play by Heart” and a bit of a glimmer of when he used to hang out with rockers, in “Something Else”. To say it another way, “Special Affections” is another triumph of do-it-yourself, he’s another of those self-made artists who go ahead with a minimal budget, and in spite of this financial precariousness manage to get their good ideas off the ground; and while they’re at it, they totally blow off what others will think or say about it. Time will tell if an alliance between Diamond Rings and a prestigious producer can bring out his real potential—he’s dying to work with Stuart Price, of course. Meanwhile, he passes with flying colours, even though he dresses horribly. Sergio del Amo

Diamond Rings - Special Affections by SecretCityRecords

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