Album: Dynamite Drug Diamond
Label: Sober Up Records
Release Date: 04/11/2013
French quartet, Tang, have recently released their first album available to UK audiences. Released in their native country France a year earlier, Dynamite Drug Diamond attempts to break the UK market as the first band on Sober Up Records. Officially the band’s third studio album, following their debut This Quietness Booms and Another Thousand Days, Dynamite Drug Diamond finds Tang bathing in more limelight than they had previously been used to.
The opening song is Highway Encounter, an energetic, guitar driven track that successfully sets the tone for the rest of the album. Barely legible lyrics delivered with vocals that switch effortlessly from high pitched screaming to melodic singing is a theme that starts in this first song and continues throughout. Run and Run and Die follows suit with an infectious riff ripped straight from the pages of At The Drive-in. The song lulls in the middle then builds into a crescendo of drum fills and thrashy guitar parts as vocalist, Xavier Damarey, screams the album’s title.
Damarey and, drummer, Bastien Gournay share vocal duties on In Loving Memories with great success. Their call and response screams accompany the verse’s discordant guitar perfectly before switching to melodic harmonising for the gentler chorus. Wrong Place Wrong Time is another stand out track. One of the more melody-driven songs on the album, it still manages to seamlessly shift to a hardcore rock workout. The song’s highlight is a stripped down, drums and vocals only, middle section, a rock cliché but one that really works.
The album’s main weak point is its tendency to slightly lack variety in places. A similar chugging guitar riff is found in multiple songs on the album suggesting that Tang have found a formula they plan to stick to, which seems to be the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy. Unfortunately this does lead to the listener losing interest slightly during the record’s less memorable songs (of which there are only a few).
After an animated and powerful opening two tracks the album dips suddenly. Paint in Black is slightly undercooked whilst Eve of Ceasefire Talks takes a little bit too long to get going and never quite reaches fifth gear (the same could be said for Hellissandur). The album’s final track is something of a damp squib, an instrumental titled Roses Out of Chaos that sounds like just another song on the record minus the vocals. It seems like a track that may work well live but fails to translate properly into a studio recording.
Overall, Tang have chosen a good album for their first attempt to crack the UK market. They show that they have established their sound and are very capable of writing spirited and exciting songs. The record’s downside is that it peaks too early then takes too long to really get going again, some songs sound too similar and some don’t seem to go anywhere. There are, however, enough bright spots to make this album well worth a listen and fans of the genre have plenty to sink their teeth into.
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