Friday, 25 September 2009

The Little Blackhearts (and Black Diamond Bay) @ Carpe Diem Review

This has to be our best review to date - from Steve Walsh who interviewed us for Sandman Magazine over a year ago. Thankyou Steve!

Written by Steve Walsh   
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
The Little Blackhearts/Black Diamond Bay/Duncan Welsh @ Carpe Diem, Leeds

As line up’s go, this was about as perversely diverse as you could get. Duncan Welsh, accompanied by Jim Fletcher, plays amiable and inoffensive acoustic songs but lack any real depth or character. They seem to be more embarrassed than anything else, playing for their equally embarrassed mates hiding in the booths.
For some reason they cover MGMT’s ‘Kiss’ but add nothing to it. Then lo and behold, when asked to do another one to fill in time, the pair choose to play Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ which they claim never to have played properly before. Maybe it’s the fear that makes them concentrate but they make it sound like wide-eyed, shattered innocence.
Black Diamond Bay used to be called Tarentum and as such were responsible for the impossibly brilliant I Dreamt We Were Bank Robbers a couple of years ago. That CD featured a diverse range of styles, from trip hop to acoustic folky ballads, but the name change signals that Black Diamond Bay are now about one thing - pumped up, sweaty, electronic avant funk. They’ve taken the bare bones of existing songs and shaped them to their new approach, so ‘Philharmonic Bubbles’ loses its tentativeness to become a seething, strutting motorik funk charge; ‘The Levels’ gets a deliriously fast coda; and ‘A Lonely Priest’ gets a new pumped up chorus and is renamed ‘Worship the Sun’. The new songs emphatically underline the new, more confident direction. Singer Jesse O’Mahoney has dropped his guitar and is now more centre stage, flanked by Holly James and Agne Motieciute to complete an impressive front line, with the rest of the band intent on delivering a huge sound that could easily fill much bigger stages. And make no mistake, Black Diamond Bay should be filling much bigger stages.

Lurching in a completely different direction, The Little Blackhearts have their boots planted firmly in the rock garden of earthy delights that is the early 1970’s. Which means muscular riffing, seriously heavy drums, spectacular fret board wizardry and some distinctly un-PC wordplay (when was the last time you heard “sexy little bitch” in a song?). And it’s a little puzzling that a band that can channel the raw spirit of rock’n’roll so effectively don’t do it in a particularly original way.

Steve Walsh
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 September 2009 )

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