It’s always good when a band knows exactly in what direction they want to go. A clear focus can be half the battle when it comes to recording an album. For Dirty Diamonds that doesn’t seem like it was a problem. Dirty Diamonds, if you can’t tell from the name – you can almost definitely tell from the album title ‘Let’s Get Loud’ – are a straight down the line, no fuss rock band. They are all sweat, leather and balls.
The problem is that if all you have is sweat, leather and balls you are not going to come up with anything that’s too appetising. While ‘Let’s Get Loud’ is not as bad as all that, it’s never really good either.
“This is rock n roll my friend, not one of your bullshit trends,” lead singer Jonathan Ryan sings on Going Down. He’s certainly right about the first part. Dirty Diamonds throw guitars, bass, heavy drumming and screamed vocals at the listener over the course of the 50 minute album.
While none of these elements fail in themselves, though Ryan is no Brian Johnson, they never seem to work properly in tandem. Right from Let’s Get Loud, guitar solos seem crowbarred into songs, and musical segues come across as more awkward than two naked guys connecting on Chatroulette. They are constant blemishes on an album which never really looks like concealing them.
Elsewhere, Last Chance for Love is frankly strange lyrically. It falls somewhere in between begging a girl to take the singer back and telling her that she’s not good enough for anyone else. It’s hard to tell if the lyrics are intentionally schizophrenic or just very poorly thought out. That said, it is probably the catchiest song on the album.
Crash and Burn follows and opens with a piano lamenting on its own. But, just as you think Dirty Diamonds might be getting sensitive, it stops and more heavy guitars and lyrics kick back in. When it comes, the solo on Crash and Burn is brilliant, but again is poorly shoehorned into a place it doesn’t really fit.
Want You to Want Me is a Whitesnake inspired, slightly slower number. It is also the best track on the album. The riffs, solos, vocals and drums all work in tandem for the first time. It ends up a little bit cheesy, but you can’t really expect anything else.
Is there any reason to listen to Dirty Diamonds? Ultimately, no. They offer little to a saturated genre 30 years after its heyday. They don’t do anything that you won’t find done ten times better on one of AC/DC’s poorer albums. It’s under-written lyrically and under-composed musically and no amount of fantastic lead guitar work can gloss over that.