At this rate, don’t be surprised if John O’Regan is launching his new hair metal project by next month. Between fronting his Joy Division-derived post-punk outfit Matters (formerly The D’Urbervilles) and adopting his Kylie Minogue-derived synth pop persona Diamond Rings, O’Reagan could very well be hell-bent on internalizing every dimension of pop music ever formulated in the ‘80’s, a decade that he himself barely had four years to take in. Not that it’s a bad thing.
O’Regan’s debut LP Special Affections was exciting because it captured an artist committing himself to a transition from post-punk rocker to androgynous glam star, a transition few have wanted to make and even fewer have been willing to risk — especially if their band’s fanbase was just starting to accumulate, as O’Regan’s was. His follow-up Free Dimensional, on the other hand, hints that Diamond Rings is an artist who is simply less interesting in the form he always wanted to take than he was while morphing into it.
Comparitively, Free Dimensional is more concerned with sheer electronic dance bliss than its predecessor, and its more up-tempo, over-the-top-euphoric cuts – “Runaway Love”, namely – ensure that it doesn’t fall on its face in doing so. He’s thrown in a few primitive rap verses straight out of Ice-T’s lost recordings (if only…) this time as well, providing some welcome trance-breaking moments. All this attests to the album as an un-ironic effort rooted in genuine curiosity of another era, but one that ultimately offers little that a dusty Madonna or Duran Duran compilation CD doesn’t.
Essential Tracks: “Runaway Love”