The Primitive Punk of Fabulous Diamonds | Bleader

The Primitive Punk of Fabulous Diamonds


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Fabulous Diamonds
  • Fabulous Diamonds
Fabulous Diamonds, aka drummer and singer Nisa Venerosa and organist and singer Jarrod Zlatic, are among the current generation of bands proving the old proposition that you don't need chops to make compelling music. The Australian duo's brand of idiot-savant punk, which suggests a lobotomized Suicide, is built from throbbing, rudimentary beats—people who can't play drums tend to go the tom-heavy faux-tribal route, as Venerosa does—and roiling two-note keyboard patterns.

On their first album, Fabulous Diamonds smothered their sing-songy unison melodies (and everything else) in loads of milky reverb—not a bad idea, given how rough the vocals are. (Zlatic sneaks in some horrible saxophone licks on a couple of tracks, but the less said about them the better.) This isn't music for close listening, but it's pretty good for zoning out.

I think the band sounds much better on the new Fabulous Diamonds II (Chapter Music). The saxophone farts are gone, Zlatic sings less, and Venerosa's vocals are buried in the mix. While most of the tracks on the debut are two or three minutes long, the opening and closing cuts on the new album (Zlatic and Venerosa don't title their songs) are 12 and 11 minutes, respectively—and despite those running times, they hit much harder than the earlier material. Venerosa sounds less shaky (which isn't saying much) and more forceful, and Zlatic's minimalism is more effective; he's still doesn't use more than two or three notes per song, but he's more inventive about arranging and rearranging them, and he also adds some Wurlitzer and analog synth to his palette. It ain't rocket science—Fabulous Diamonds really only do one thing—but it works.

The duo plays a free in-store tomorrow evening at Permanent Records and a proper show later that night at the Empty Bottle.

Today's playlist:

Noid and Taku Unami, Noid/Taku Unami (Manual)
Gil Scott-Heron, I'm New Here (XL)
Guillermo Klein, Los Guachos III (Sunnyside)
Now Ensemble, NOW Ensemble (New Amsterdam)
Ligiana, De Amor e Mar