Diamond White Riots
Wall Part One
Wall Part One is available at:
8th October, 2016
The E.P., Diamond White Riots, is available at:
BEFORE I come to say a lot of positive things about my featured band…
I wanted to (ever-so-slightly) kick their arses in the opening stage – got it to rhyme and everything! James Bull, Dan Sweed; Brandon Clark and Harry Phillipson are among the tightest and most interesting musicians around – they form the mighty Diamond White Riots. I shall come on to looking at Doncaster bands (and Yorkshire); the themes groups address and the ‘classic formation’ for bands – but I wanted to get back to my original ‘threat’. I have seen so many bands pack a meaty punch and come into music armed with some scintillating songs. It is all good and well arriving with plenty of confidence and talent: if you are not visible enough that is going to cause a problem. Diamond White Riots have plenty of coverage across social media but no central hub. They would benefit a homepage and a place to put all their music, links and photos in one spot. Their Facebook page is solid enough but has no biography and background for the band. I typed in ‘Diamond White Riots’ into a search engine and thought there was a Wikipedia entry – when clicking on it seemed to be blank.
What I could glean – from the search result – is the guys were formed last year and are based out of Doncaster. It is always good knowing how a band ticks and what their influences are; where they have played and all they have achieved. Diamond White Riots have a record label behind them and have produced a wonderful E.P. so far. These may be the baby steps but you have to go in hard and fierce. This is something I mention when reviewing new acts: getting your face out there and being as exposed as you can. It is never a bad thing being open and transparent – so long as you do not take all the mystery out. Diamond White Riots would suit a professional and full homepage: put all their social media links together; a few photoshoots and a biography about the group. That way, potential venues, bookers and fans have all the information they need and are more likely to book the band. That said, the lads have their name across all social media platforms and the main music-sharing websites – that is the most important thing. The trouble is, you have to search for them one-by-one – stick them all in Facebook (at least) and it makes my job easier anyway. The final point – shall go easy on them after this – is the photos and images. There are a few on Facebook but the boys are pretty dapper and handsome; they have cool fashion and are a genuine group. It would be nice to see more images and get a little more visual representing. Maybe finances are tightening the photoshoot budget but I’d like to think that is on their ‘2017 list’: getting some snaps taken and being a bit more outward. The music is, as I always state, the king and his majesty is sitting proud and safe – a band that are certainly not slacking; getting their name to the forefront. Their social media ranks might still be growing but they are making big strides and crafting instant, universal songs for the masses.
I have brought Yorkshire back into the forefront the last few weeks. Not only have I been expounding the virtues and beauty of Ripon songbird Billie Marten – one or two rather tasty bands emanating from the county. Yorkshire is, as it is said, God’s County: the nature, landscapes and people all seem to be a league ahead of their local rivals. There is something instantly assured, prosperous and fascinating about Yorkshire. It is a county that is not about rolling fields and yawning, epic scenery. It is such a diverse and characterful county. You cannot easily compare Leeds with Ripon; Sheffield with Doncaster. The Diamond White Riots boys come from Doncaster and one of the most fascinating bands from the town. In terms of the local competition, there is not a lot of visibility across social media and search engines. I have said this when looking at bands across Sheffield and Leeds – not enough polls and sites dedicated to unearthing the best of the bunch. Doncaster is a bit of enigma but it does have a crop of agile and nimble bands that are capable of transcending to the mainstream. There are cover/party bands like Warning Tones, Pop Revolution and Street Cardinals – who are around Doncaster/Sheffield. It is annoying when you try and look for the best bands around Yorkshire and how little there is out there. I know for a fact Doncaster is a fertile and hot spot for new talent. In the course of my reviews, I get to listen to a range of artists from Doncaster and just what is coming out. Vibing from the energy and variation of the county: it is hard to overlook all the strength and variegation coming through. Diamond White Riots are certainly one of the finest groups from Doncaster – possibly the best – but sit in a county that is, in my view, ahead of the U.K.’s rest.
London leads the way when it comes to solo artists but for bands: I feel Yorkshire is leading the way. Historically, the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Pulp and Pulled Apart by Horses hail from here. If you look at cities/areas that have fostered the best bands you might naturally spring to Manchester. Given the titans that have emerged here – The Smiths, Oasis and Joy Division are three examples – it is a safe bet. Yorkshire and Doncaster are exceptional with regards new bands. I feel Manchester and London have fine examples of the moment but is not as strong and diverse as Yorkshire. The county has always defined what it is to be original, fresh and unexpected. Polishing and proffering bygone genres – Swing being shone and fused with Electronica – you get Hokum, classic Pop and Neo-Soul; Indie, Alternative and Jazz sitting side-by-side without a care in the world. Diamond White Riots will do something rather important. Not only are they one of Yorkshire’s best and brightest new bands; they will provide greater weight to the argument that Yorkshire’s musicians cannot be beaten. Let’s hope (the county) gets more exposure and attention in the next few years. My point remains about Doncaster’s validity and merits. It is an area that has always provided exceptional music but deserves more acclaim and backing.
I shall get to the boys’ new single (and E.P.) soon but wanted to talk about lyrical themes and the formation of bands. Starting with the latter and you get a sense of history and tradition with Diamond White Riots. Since the dawn of musical time, the all-male quartet has been a backbone of the musical landscape. Everyone from Arctic Monkeys and The Beatles has stuck with this tried-and-tested formation. It keeps a group tight and has the perfect number of bodies in the mix. Sure; the likes of Pulp (five) and Oasis (five) have that extra member and benefit from it – one feels they would not have suffered were they to drop the weakest link. The quartet seems like the perfect balance of security and numbers; it is never too crowded and allows vocal-drum-guitar-bass formations to solidify and come together. If you had three members, you could get away with – the lead would need to play guitar and the sound would not be as full and rich. A fifth member risks putting too much in and being slightly expendable. It is not random I raise this point. I have seen a lot of bands emerging that are sticking with that quartet line-up. I am not sure whether it is the perfect chemical balance or whether it is tradition – it seems to be working wonders. Duos like Royal Blood prove you can make a holy noise with a couple of people but, for my money, you cannot deny the legacy and strengths of the four-piece. The subjects the Diamond White Riots boys investigate revolve around their life and what is happening around them. You get plenty of sex, drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll; there are spade-loads of break-ups and romance quandaries – just what the modern consumer can relate to. I raise this too because so many new bands are getting fixated with insular concerns and heartache. Love and relationships are important to assess but they are not the only thing you should be talking about. The same goes for introspection and self-analysis: that is valid and relevant but only when contrasted against other subjects. Diamond White Riots – in their cider-named chaos – create classic Rock and Indie mayhem; they have composure and discipline bit drag you into an after-hours world of shut-ins and rowdy boozing; exciting, near-the-knuckle revelry and evading the alluring kick of the law. It is a shame there is not more known about bands around Doncaster because, as my featured band show, there is some fantastic music coming out of the area. I know many groups look at youth and modern life but few as naturally as the Doncaster-formed band. They have that zeal, spirit and effectiveness that is not faked at all – it is exactly who they are and where they want to be.
Diamond White Riots have a lot of pages across social media and music-sharing websites so you can find what you need from them. In terms of their past moves, there are not many other examples out there. I feel they should put their E.P. on SoundCloud as it would provide a chance for users to find them there. Spotify can be problematic – and has denied me the chance to review the whole E.P. – and every band/musician should put music across SoundCloud. It is the most accessible and popular music-sharing platform and one that should be utilised. I know the boys will want to generate profits from their music so should ensure they keep going with iTunes and platforms like that. They can get money for their work but need to make it as accessible to those who do not want to pay. For me, SoundCloud is the most important site and one they will use a lot more in the future. The guys have a couple of demo tracks on there and have put their first E.P. single (Lady in Blood) on there. On YouTube, you can find their latest video (for Wall Part One) and their Pink Floyd-truncated nod is causing a lot of excitement and acclaim. I know the band will be making more music so it will give a better view of how they progress and change. The early steps are the most important (and nervous) and can make-or-break a band, but Diamond White Riots should fear not. Their first two songs show they are not only consistent but varied. The tracks – Lady in Blood and Wall Part One – have that distinct core and band sound but cannot be easily compared. It shows originality and endeavor from a group that is impossible to tie down and easily define. Wall Part One, for me, is a stronger cut than Lady in Blood but both songs are really solid, driving and exciting. They form the basis of the eponymous E.P. and show the bands has plenty of motivation, ambition and passion for what they do.
The opening licks of Wall Part One have that concrete, Garage-Rock sound that is all grit and smoke with some sexual swagger and bones protruding. Saucy and explicit; calm and swaggering – most bands do not come out of the gates as firm and appealing. The early riff puts you in mind of bands like The White Stripes but has heavier overtones and is as cool as Jack White’s most assured riffs. The guys play on a basis of Rock ‘n’ Roll themes – sex and booze – but have plenty of command and discipline to their work. They do not lazily throw some strings together and hope for the best – always authoritative and mature in everything they do. The introduction puts you in a bar or down an alley as people spoil and scrap in the darkness. It is a dangerous and teeth-baring sound that has alcohol-drenched boots and a cigarette dangling from the lips. Not just a one-dimensional beast: it bonds with percussion and has plenty of mobility and adventure to it. Dipping and diving; swaying and pounding – quite an intoxicating and bracing opening. When the lyrics and vocals come in, they are delivered with a syncopated, original dynamic. Our hero’s nose is bleeding but he is not leading; he is being fed a poisonous sentiment and has been in this situation before. Diamond White Riots do not go for traditional couplets and cliché lyrics; a standard presentation and follow the herd. On Wall Part One, you get a stunning and new delivery that gets the lyrics into the head straight away. I have mooted Diamond White Riots looks at sex and booze – and that is suggested and tipped in both their E.P. songs released so far – but Wall Part One looks more at a rotten bond and a toxic partnership. The guys have all been around the block and have seen plenty of relationships dissolve – not saying they are useless in that regard but it is the way of the world. The hero is with the girl who is remiss and worried; her man is on the brink and about to implode, it seems. The initial words see the lead spitting blood and veiled in a familiar feeling – suffocated and poisoned by something rather unsettling and unwelcomed. Whether a relationship has hit the bricks or there are arguments unfolding: it is not something that is being promoted and celebrated. The band provide some interesting lyrics but do not cast blame and reveal truths this early. If the music and spirit cast its tongue firmly between legs; its lyrics and story put the tongue firmly in cheek.
There is a sense of the hero holding words back and the lead not letting out his emotions. The same familiar feelings are being felt; the same fate and situations are presenting themselves. I get the sense of sweethearts who have not been on firm footing for a while and are going through a series of civil wars and spats. The composition remains intense and bold and gets your mind conspiring. I mentioned it is a rather lewd and sexual affair: the guy that prowls the bars and picks up the girls; flashing the cash and getting his end away by the night’s end. It has Blues at heart but is a good, raw Rock sound that adds weight and impetus to the song. You always feel involved and gripped; unwilling to walk away from the song and put your focus anywhere else. Keeping a sense of familiarity to the song – the lyrics repeat themselves and build a mantra – you are always wondering just what is being referenced. What Diamond White Riots do so well is give that live sound a real airing. The song has lo-fi charm and is not over-produced – like so many of their peers and their music. It is as though you are in the room with them and listening to them that close and personal. Once or twice the vocal is outweighed by guitar but it is a minor lapse in the production.
The composition is always relevant and strong but never intrudes or gets too carried away. Commanding and brash throughout; a perfect accompaniment to a song that deals with heavy blows and bitter battles. At one point, guitar steps forward and creates a scintillating, lightning-strike riff. It not only showcases some impressive chops but is the punctuation point at the end of a lengthy sentence. Firm, fiery and crackling: adding story to the drama and providing plenty of emotion. The bass and percussion are always involved and strong and add huge amounts of force and colour to the music. Our lead’s voice has that cockiness and coolness but there is pain lingering beneath the surface. Some might note some comparisons with Arctic Monkeys – not too far down the road from Diamond White Riots – but that is the result of natural accent rather than an attempt to replicate the Sheffield band. The hero lets it be known he was not the one who had the “key to heartbreak”. It is clear there is a tussle in a relationship and the rubble is being climbed over. I know this is a staple of many bands/songs but Diamond White Riots make their mandates of blame and guilt a lot sexier and elemental than most. Gone are the stereotyped lines and predictable exchanges: replaced with something a lot more original and exciting. The composition is one of the most exciting and appealing facets; something that twists and turns like a viper.
The strange and tense romantic domesticity is going through the motions and the newly-split pair is finding common ground on which to attack and castigate. What distinguishes the Doncaster bands from the slew of like-minded peers is their intelligence and compositional originality. You are always moved and surprised by the sound and how it evolves and subverts – always keeping you on your toes and intrigued. The vocal remains firm and passionate but does not descend into sarcasm, laziness and the routine. Always angry, appealing and, strangely, alluring – you get enraptured by the sense of casualness that comes through in some of the notes. It is clear the girl is at fault and causing damage and scars. Before the foursome gets into head-banging, body-rocking mode: the lyrics paint more pictures and reveal more of the story. The heroine has a strange way of being unfaithful – gets the mind working – and whether sexually unique or not quite traditional – you do wonder what that refers to. At every stage, you imagine sexual indiscretion but it seems something more bizarre is unfolding. It is interesting but not something you dwell on as the band unveil a concrete, boot-stomping riff that adds more pummel and emotion to the song – underlining the lyrics that went before in the process. The hero is battling an unhappy heart and is trying to deal with everything going on. By the end, you wonder whether there is any chance of salvation for the two and just what has caused the split. I guess there is another man involved but that is never fully captured. Oblique and mysterious at times; you can guess and interpret the song whatever way you like but get that abiding sense of two lovers who are not entirely through. There are lingering feelings but it seems like a very hard time is ahead of them. Wall Part One is a fascinating and accomplished song that is full of confidence and power. Few new bands can create something as instant and professional this early and resonate so hard. It is a stunning song whose composition, vocal and lyrics each play their part and have their own strengths. The final seconds of the track are dedicated to fully exploiting the band’s composition and instrumental talents – exceptional performances and some rather delicious sounds unveiled. Not just the star and standout from their eponymous debut E.P. – the guys have crafted a song that has the ability to get airplay across the biggest national radio stations and be taken to heart by hundreds of new fans.
Let’s hope those who overlook great bands/areas will get their acts in order and rectify things in the next year. I opened by looking at Doncaster and how many great bands are coming from this part of the world. Yorkshire, as has always been the case, is at the very summit of wonderful, original music. You cannot overlook the depth of variety and quality that comes from the county. This is something I’m keen to investigate more in the coming months, but for the moment, getting back Diamond White Riots. The boys put together topics of indiscretion, lack of judgement and a certain recklessness but never in an immature or cliché way. What you get from their eponymous E.P. is something mature, considered and intelligent. The themes switch and the songs each have their own character and skin. It is a collection I urge you to seek out – issues with Spotify mean I cannot look at the entire work – but have heard enough to know the boys will go a long way. Lady in Blood was the first taster of the E.P. and showed just what Diamond White Riots contained. Wall Part One, if anything, is a stronger and more assured cut that pushes their sound and proves just what a tasty prospect they are. Many reviewers have looked at the E.P. and laid their opinions down. I have been listening to the first two singles from it and know just what a sensational sound the band makes. Before I assess the band and distill their essence into a few sentences; it is worth getting back to my original themes on Yorkshire, lyric topics and social media.
I do hope the band think more about their catalogue and image and look at expanding and augmenting it as much as they can. If they can get an official website together: that would bring more people in and showcase everything they are about. Their fanbase is climbing – but could be even bigger – and it is only a matter of time before they translate across counties and countries – get more people in and starting going places. They have the ammunition and desire to exceed so some photoshoots and organisation will benefit them a lot. As it is, you can find everything Diamond White Riots if you search and they make sure they get their name across all the necessary platforms. I have, rather pleasingly, come back to Yorkshire to discover a band that are going to have a few years ahead of them and show just what quality comes from the county. There was a time – a year or so back – where I could not shift Yorkshire and its musicians. Its allure and scent bring me back and it is rather hard to ignore. I opinioned you cannot define Yorkshire as it is so different and large. Sheffield and Leeds have their own sound whereas Doncaster does too. It is rather worrying more ears and eyes are not focused on Yorkshire as it is the country’s strongest county and fostering some future stars. That is for another day and something that might not have an easy fix. I am fascinated by Diamond White Riots as they have that traditional, classic line-up. I am always eager for bands to bring mixes of gender and race into their ranks – music needs more equality and less homogenisation – but you cannot argue against the male four-piece. It is a solid unit and one that has formed the basis of some of the world’s greatest bands.
It is nice hearing a band strip away the doe-eyed and moody façade so many tend to favour now. There are some times of revelation and sensitivity but the boys are masterful when it comes to something less discrete and more exciting. You transpose yourself into their world and get taken into their minds and imagination. Such is the power and honesty of their music you get carried away and immerse the body and brain in the songs. It is going to be interesting seeing where the boys head and what they have in mind for next year. Their self-titled E.P. is a confident and rounded effort that has a perfect blend of rawness and professionalism; a cavalcade of fascinating sights and consistently tight and stunning performances from the four. You find yourself exhausted by the end but always willing to come back and reinvestigate the songs. There is that all-important nuance: few Rock/Alternative bands have enough subtlety and depth to provoke multiple listens and long-term appeal. You can judge Diamond White Riots on your own terms but it is a very dependable and assured E.P. from a new band. It gives me hope the guys will push on and build on this promise. The next year is going to be one of the most exciting and relevant one for music. After a tragedy-filled and eventful 2016: many will react to this and ensure 2017 is full of love, wonderful music and positivity. That provides a platform for music’s best to get involved and create sounds of the highest order. Where Diamond White Riots fit in is yet to be seen but they are forceful and memorable enough to etch their names into the ledger. I feel the band will look to perform across the country and get their names heard down London and the south.
The capital is suited for their type of music and there are venues and spots they could thrive. Pull that out further and there are plenty of other areas of the U.K. the band have chances. I am not sure how familiar they are with Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol – big places they could get their work heard and appreciated. Yorkshire is a huge county and they have made in-roads and impressions with their native crowds. The trouble is, as my opening statements mooted, there is little focus paid to Yorkshire and regions that deserve acclaim and love. When reviewing and featuring Billie Marten, one of her quotes stood out: “(London) is where everything is”. Even if you live somewhere with a strong music scene, there are no guarantees and many will gravitate towards the capital. That is something for the guys to think about – in terms of performance – but they are situated in one of the finest parts of the country. I’ll wrap things up by recommending you seek out their new E.P. and let is charms and edges get into the blood; the tight and exciting performances move the body – get seduced by the amazing songs and fine details. It is going to be an exciting next few months as the quartet get the E.P. into live settings and cast their attentions to the year coming. They are capable of gaining huge numbers and making themselves know to vital tastemakers and radio stations. Their eponymous E.P. is a bold call and focused work that puts Alternative/Indie bands back into the fore and shows the band market/genres are not spent and irrelevant. Get involved with the quartet and let their music do its work. This year has been busy and productive, and if momentum is to be believed, the boys will have…
AN even busier 2017.
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