𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 - this week: In Between - The New Black Diamonds
Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝙄𝙣 𝘽𝙚𝙩𝙬𝙚𝙚𝙣 - 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘽𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙠 𝘿𝙞𝙖𝙢𝙤𝙣𝙙𝙨
Charles is neither here nor there…
Lately, I’ve been trying to work it all out. A new year brings much thought. Much pensing. Much consolidating of life in general. Where am I “at”? Where do I fit in? Who am I? What am I? And although I feel rather good right now, I also feel rather mediocre. Let me explain. Life gallops on like a panicked stallion. I am not a teenager anymore. I am not even in my roaring twenties anymore. So am I to be relegated to the “elderly” (we used to call this “old”) cupboard? Well of course not. I am nowhere near old. Or elderly. I am fighting fit! Well, I am healthy anyway. Not quite the Olympian, but I am not dying quietly in a corner. Or loudly. I may be in my corner when you see me, but this is out of choice, and not for health benefits. My teeth may not be falling out, but I am far from dazzling you with a pearly white Hollywood beam. You won’t see me sprinting a marathon, but if I were to do such a peculiar thing, I am sure I wouldn’t come in last place - if I lived to tell the tale, that is. Both legs are functioning pretty well without the need for a cane or a crutch. So that’s nice. My breathing may be a little tight from time to time, due to my asthma, but I am certainly not yet needing a ventilator. Of course, by the time the National Health Service were to have one available, I would be long dead; but that’s beside the point. What about money? Am I absolutely blooming loaded? Well, of course I am! Why else would I do these reviews every single week? How COULD I afford the time otherwise? Okay, you caught me. I lied. I am NOT absolutely blooming loaded. I fit in these reviews when I can, just like you all show your appreciation for other artists when you can. And if you don’t have time, you make time - simples! So am I stony broke? Well luckily, due to my mixing career taking off, I am not. Thank Christ. I am neither rich nor poor. I am not in the gutter with plastic bags wrapped around my naked feet, trying to stay warm under a bush. And I am not watching someone polish the golden finials atop my vast lavish mansion. These days both situations would probably get me arrested - the latter for "slave labour", and the former for "wasting plastic". But it at least looks like I won't be needing "benefits", or what I have decided to call the National Wealth Service.
What does my personality say to you? What is my personality? Am I good? Am I kind? Am I generous? Well I hope so. I am not a rude miser who hates the world and everyone in it. And I am certainly not a criminal! But am I a saint? Do I put everyone and everything before the needs of my own? Not as a rule, no. We can’t all be like New Artist Spotlight member, Joao Aranha, who I am convinced hides his forever glowing halo under a baseball cap for modesty. Many of you have heard my speaking voice on various NAS podcasts, and might assume that I am "upper class". Now, while I am not working class/lower class (whatever we’re allowed to call it these days), I am certainly not upper class (despite owning an ancient top hat) but I were simply brung up good. Whilst my weekly musings might be considered the “ballad of a thin man” (thank you, Bob), I am not anorexic or anything like that. But I am a far cry from being confused with Billy Bunter, Brian Blessed, or the late Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter’s stepfather) - choose your era, but you get the idea: fat. Speaking of Blessed, am I blessed with thick luxurious long locks of Bowie-esque hair (I say Bowie, because I believe he had the perfect and most versatile head of hair)? Nope, I am not. So am I therefore as bald as a billiard ball? Nope, I am not. I make do with my few wisps. What about my talents, then? Surely I’m decent there… Well, yes, I’m decent. But am I the greatest songwriter of all time? Am I the greatest guitarist of all time? While I can play the guitar, I am no Eddie Van Halen. I do however have one up on Van Halen and Bowie: I’m still here. Sorry about that. Am I the most successful mixing engineer of all time? How’s about my own music? Am I up there with the ever successful Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift? Well, no. I am not. But neither am I begging and paying random people to listen to my music. And finally, the very food that I devour. Do I eat out at Three-Michelin-Star restaurants every day and night? Or do I habitually order McDonald’s delivery from Uber-Eats (like my neighbour; I certainly don’t LOVE my neighbour)? The answer to both, is no.
So you see, like politicians, I’m really neither one thing nor the other. I am basically in between. An inbetweener. And you’ll probably realise that in many ways, you too are an inbetweener. The good news is, there are levels of in between. And all the artists I review here are in the upper echelons of in between. That sounds like an album by Bonjovi or Genesis: “The Upper Echelons of In Between”… Let’s talk Swedish diamonds. This one is a bit of a gamble, as they are so new to the NAS. To be fair, the “N” stands for New, which is also mentioned in the band’s name. Let’s hope they appreciate the attention! As The New Black Diamonds have only been with us for a month or two, I was not yet familiar with their output. It was time to set that to rights, as I always like to give everyone an equal opportunity to appear here. I had been writing my weekly maybe list, listening intently to SO much music, old and new, when my speakers just went BOOM! They did not explode. Or rather, they did not go wrong. They exploded with MUSIC! Their latest single, In Between, smashed through my paper cones like nobody’s business! It is rare to hear drums snap as much as this without feeling painful fatigue soon after; and yet they manage. These guitars bomb down the open road like a souped-up Porsche. Nah, like a Harley with flames on the sides. This is rugged like a used biker jacket. Get your motor runnin’… This song is mixed absolutely PERFectly. Every strike of the guitars is like a cut-throat razor to the hair of the music. One of the best riffs I have heard in quite a while. This is all thanks to Max Moonhammer (bald as a billiard ball), on lead guitar. yes, this is his name (or at least the name he goes by). And yes, this is a name destined for the annals of great guitarists. Certainly better than Maxwell Silverhammer. John Bergstrand is behind the slamming, spanking drum track, while Catrine Jacobsen (probably no relation to the architect and furniture designer, Arne) completes the rhythm section on bass. She locks into the guitar with satisfying precision. Then finally the OWgan (or organ, for you normal people out there) is played by Fredrik Lindemalm (also as bald as a billiard ball), who does his very best Jerry Lee Lewis impersonation, as the whole band rocks the casbah.
So what could possibly top all of this?? Klara Frisk, that’s what. Instantly one of my favourite female singers on the NAS. There is something of Panem’s lead singer, Marie Moreau: that “I don’t give a DAMN what YOU think” attitude. That grit. That energy. This is not Celine Dion. This is not Enya. Think Jefferson Airplane, Suzi Quatro, Annie Lennox, The Duke Spirit and even Christina Aguilera (for delivery - vocal, not Uber-Eats). Klara has everything you’d want in a rock voice. What is it about rock bands fronted by female singers that just makes it so damned sexy? Probably something to do with me being heterosexual, I suppose. But it’s the GUTS in that voice that just brings the whole sound to another level. Man, this lady’s got black balls of steel - or maybe black diamonds. And all backed up with stunning harmonies by Catrine. It is quite incredible how this Swedish quintet can make such a richness in sound. Needs more cowbell…? Well it’s even got that too! So what’s the actual song about? It’s about everything I said above. Being neither one thing nor the other. And this is so damned original! I don’t think I have ever heard a song base its lyrics on this. Bloody brilliant!
Maybe still needs more cowbell 😉
This article turned out neither long nor short, but somewhere in between.
There may be clowns to the left of us, and jokers to the right, but here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
Listen to 𝙄𝙣 𝘽𝙚𝙩𝙬𝙚𝙚𝙣 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
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