Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Gig Review: Fabulous Diamonds


Melbourne hypno-groove duo Fabulous Diamonds spent three days in June 2011 recording their third LP, the tongue-in-cheekily titled Commercial Music, in the upstairs bandroom of the John Curtin Hotel in Carlton. How fitting it was, then, for them to return to the scene of the crime three months later to launch that very album. And really, this evening was to be a stunner, for joining them were two very engaging local duos, White Hex and People Person.

White Hex kicked off the proceedings with aplomb, delivering a mesmerising half-hour set of splintery, spidery gothic post-punk tunes in the vein of Cocteau Twins, Crime And The City Solution and Faith-era The Cure. These two “tropical goth” musos – Tara Green on bass and Jimi Kritzler on guitar – were absolutely brilliant, proving to this scribe that it pays to arrive at gigs early.

People Person were up next, another boy/girl duo. Standing side by side in front of a pair of tabletop sequencers and mixing boards, Nathan Gray and Julie Burleigh created a pastiche of post-experimentalist ambient electronica with the beating heart of an 8-bit video game. Riveting and hypnotic, it sounded a bit like Aphex Twin having been commissioned to perform the soundtrack to Castlevania.

When Fabulous Diamonds made their way to the stage, the Curtin’s bandroom was nearly packed. Nisa Venerosa perched behind her drum-kit, and Jarrod Zlatic sat behind a large and rather archaic looking synthesizer and then they were off. There are many adjectives to describe the music of Fabulous Diamonds – tribal, forceful, assertive and enigmatic certainly come to mind. Venerosa and Zlatic set the tone of their set right off the bat with Commercial Music’s strange, ethereal opening track, "Inverted Vamp".

A veritable wall of noise was created in which one could lose one’s self. With Venerosa’s commanding voice dissected by distortion into a crescendo of discombobulated syllables and her thundering tom-heavy drums layered over Zlatic’s icy synths and vintage electronic sounds, Fabulous Diamonds’ new material came across as supremely textured and fully realised statements of sheer sonic hooliganism. Closing out their set with an epic and gleefully deranged song called "Downhill", Fabulous Diamonds proved tonight that not only are they a bloody force of nature, they’ve also released one of the most captivating albums I’ve heard in quite some time. Summed up as a whole, this gig stands out as one of the best of the year.

Please find below a track selected from the new album Commercial Music - the haunting and beguiling "Lothario". Cheers, kids!