Share CHICKEN DIAMOND - Chicken Diamond (Beast Records)
Europeans have the one-man band thing sussed better than anyone these days, and Chicken Diamond might just be King of the Coop. Chicken Diamond plays distorted, fucked-up blues and while lots of people lay claim to that territory, this music is played especially intensely and with no regard to niceties like leaving empty spaces.

Chicken (Mr Diamond? Don't call him Neil!) hails from Thionville in France, a place that's so close to Luxembourg you could throws rocks at it. Luxembourg is a postage stamp of a country that people pass through on their way to other places. Thionville probably isn't one of them. It was a busy place during the Industrial Revolution but like a mining town after the resources are pulled out of the ground, not much happens there anymore. If music's product of its environment, Chicken Diamond is kicking against the pricks in a big way.

Chicken Diamond plays skanky but skilful guitar with muddy keyboards and overdubbed drums. There's a decent amount of bottom end in the mix and his vocals would strip paint ("Me And My 44" being a good example.) Chicken Diamond cites Junior Kimborough as an influence and on the Scorecard of Influences I'd put that down as an A-plus..

This is mostly original material with a couple of choice covers. Let's deal with them first: "Sister Ray" is the song Velvets fans revere for its unrestrained aural violence, but in Chicken Diamond's hands it takes on a murkier, bluesy presence. Then there's "Teenage Werewolf", the Cramps song done a little bluesier and slower. It's to good effect and the guttural vocals add the correct emphasis where needed.

The original repertoire is where the rubber hits the road. Chicken Diamond has no shortage of great songs with the guitar collision that is "Civillized", "Bones" and the bludgeoning "Whisky + Coke" exercises in giving the blues a good belting around the head. "Factory Smoke" un-bottles a dollop of jagged guitars in a mix so deep that it'll have you struggling for air.

"Damn Old Sun" opens the album with superb, barbed wire guitar and drums that fade in. Like the onset of a migraine while driving on an icy country road, you know you're in trouble. It's all discordant, tuned-down damage from here on in. Unlike some of other one-man bands, Chicken Diamond can play more than barre chords.

This one lobbed as a chunky slice of vinyl and that's how you'll have to procure your copy because i don't see any CD for sale anywhere. Resist the temptation not to take the plunge. This could be one of the best messes of messed-up blues you'll hear in a long time.- The Barman


3/4

 

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