Monday, May 11, 2015

Album review: Diamonds in the Bloodstream by Raised by Eagles

The opening song of Diamonds in the Bloodstream by Melbourne band Raised by Eagles sounds as if it could be heard coming from the radio of a panel van parked beside a Sydney beach during the 1970s and simultaneously it evokes parched paddocks somewhere along the Hume Highway, era indeterminate, and a bunch of mates sitting beside an AFL field, talking about nothing much in particular and everything at once. It’s evocative of everywhere, everytime, yet it is not a derivative song. It’s just Australian, in the best possible way: it conjures up landscape and lazy hot days; bush poetry, long drives and strangers well met. It’s a lot for one song to achieve, but it’s not alone in doing that on this very fine album.

There are eight songs, arranged into A side and B side. Some are so beautiful they hurt, in that way that you think you’ll never get over an album but you know you’ll have to because you can’t listen to it all day every day.

The pace of Diamonds in the Bloodstream is gentle yet it’s not an album that lets the listener be lazy. Rather, the gentleness seems to be the product of the band members’ comfort with each other: there’s nothing to prove there, so the songs can be allowed to stand on their own, and the musicians layer on only what’s needed. Restraint is so often not exercised in modern song production – if something can be done, it seems that the belief is that it should be done. To not do those things – to believe that bells and whistles are just a distraction, not an improvement – requires confidence and, to an extent, courage. Courage is also required to create art that endures. Diamonds in the Bloodstream is that.

Diamonds in the Bloodstream is out now.

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