Thursday, October 21, 2010

24-Carat Diamond

There’s something heartening about a gangly, 6'4" youth decked out in rainbow eyeliner and lipstick along with his sneakers and jeans. That’d be one John O’Regan, the Toronto whiz kid known as Diamond Rings. When he opens that pretty, lip-glossed mouth on his debut Special Affections (out Monday October 25), his voice is anything but androgynous. It’s big, it’s sonorous, it’s — well — manly.

To get a sense of O’Regan in all his glory, check out the video for his latest single "Something Else" or the Halloween-time clip for the blues-gospel electro strut of "Wait & See." He’s living it up: loving the music intensely in "Something Else"; dancing through the neighborhood during "Wait & See" like a bird proud of its exotic plumage. But you don’t need the visuals to get at the complicated heart of these shiny love songs. He struggles with identity amidst the synthetic tension of "You Oughta Know." He wants to hold on to his good love on the blissful "You & Me." And on the generous closer "All Yr Songs" he lathers his lover with lotion to keep from burning in summer and offers up his winter sweater to stave off the cold. Beneath the pageantry, that’s the kind of diamond that sparkles brightest.

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