TANG has been circling the radar for roughly the last thirteen years or so, thus adding them to the list of underground French rock bands who have made their name known in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Unfortunately with their latest album, Dynamite Drug Diamond, no new path was paved in innovation. As I moved through the album I got this strange feeling that the whole thing revolved around this formula of “cool” intro, harsh vocals, and some sort of interlude that didn’t quite fit somewhere in the middle of each track. When working with a band that has multiple vocalists, sometimes the overall sound of the group gets lost in trying to combine all of their elements into a unified track. As I listened to Dynamite Drug Diamond, it all felt a bit forced and stitched together, most notably on the opening track “In Loving Memories.” There was a slight disconnect between the vocals and the instrumentals that carried on throughout almost every other song on this album. And since the majority of these songs are somewhere between four to six minutes long, I just got the feeling that this indie-noise-rock group was trying too hard.
Songs such as “Highway Encounter” or “Paint It Black” were built upon really discomfortingly staggered guitar riffs and scratchy vocals that came off as a mix between Joe Strummer and a 72-year-old chain smoker. By track three it all just started to sound redundant to me. At one point, towards the end of this album, on the song “Lost in Prayers,” I was convinced I had actually accidentally restarted playing the album. It all sounded the same!
Lyrically, there was very little to offer as well. I had several of what I like to call “Sean Paul” moments in which I really could not, for the life of me, figure out what the words to a song were, and just accepted it as indecipherable mumbling. The lyrics I could understand, though, were just completely un-insightful and somewhat meaningless to me. “Gazing at the sea/soothing in motion” or “seagulls are crying” were about the most inventive non-cliché lines off the record (taken from “Hellissandur”).
I kept waiting for that one song or that one moment where I could be like, “Hey! That was pretty gnarly!” And finally, after nine tracks I found that. “Life of Shooting Stars” and “Roses Out of Chaos” are both really great tracks with really cheesy names. “Life of Shooting Stars” is just cool, talk-singing, mellow Goth-Rock that broke apart from everything else on the album and worked quite well into the transition of the anchor song. “Roses” is simply a rad instrumental track pushing almost six-minutes in length, and incorporating everything that the first nine tracks of the album lacked. It was really complex for the album in retrospect, and it made me wish the rest of Dynamite Drug Diamond had gone in this direction rather than a failed attempt to emulate The Hives.
You can purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here.
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