Label: This Is Music Release date: 01/11/10 Link: Official Site Second Move is the debut album from Leeds-based trio The Diamond Sea. Having named themselves after a Sonic Youth track, you’d expect Second Move to be some sort of hazy, experimental, shoegaze-y cloud, but other than the rather loose attitude to song writing, this is where the similarity between the two bands end. ‘Damn Down’ sounds like something that could possibly be from Daydream Nation, all jangling guitars and mumbled vocals, but in comparison with Sonic Youth’s penchant for experimentalism, this album by the The Diamond Sea manages to be rather dull. Every song seems to have the same structure – lead guitar line followed by chugging acoustic chords – and this means that after you’ve heard the first three or four tracks it’s very hard not to switch it off. It may seem a tad harsh to judge this release only in comparison to the bastion of shoegaze that is Sonic Youth, but even on its own merits this album is rather dreary. The vocals especially are very hard to get stuck in to. ‘Turn It Around’ is a prime example of this - the words sound weary and are almost completely incomprehensible which means that as someone listening to the record, you find yourself struggling to grasp what the point of the song is. In many ways ‘Turn It Around’ is not on its own – if you imagine a band falling asleep whilst writing an album, you’ll have a good idea of how Second Move sounds and feels to listen to. It’s not just the fact that the subject matter is often quite depressing and down heartening but equally the way in which the subject matter is delivered sounds like the band is constantly moaning. If you imagine The Shins but without any effects or creative sparks that make them special, then you have a good idea of what a lot of the album sounds like. Even the more deliberately sombre songs such as ‘On A Night Like This’ manage to sound disingenuous – by this point in the album you find yourself losing patience with a band that you are still attempting to fathom. In the interests of fairness it should be mentioned that are some good tracks on this album. ‘Brand New’ for example is a much more optimistic and is boosted halfway through with a cracking distorted lead guitar solo which really grabs your attention again. ‘Son’ is another brief spark of relief in the gloom, with more jangling guitar lines and some long overdue creativity from the rhythm section making for a much better written and more well-rounded track. This is really the most frustrating thing about this record; you can’t just dismiss it as the rubbish offerings of a talentless band because The Diamond Sea can clearly write a good song. It’s just a shame that these are dwarfed by the monotony of the majority of Second Move, and make it so difficult to listen to, no matter how many times you try. Photobucket