Johnnyswim - Diamonds
Released April 29, 2014
By Graham White
Johnnyswim’s latest release Diamonds defies expectations with each of it’s tracks. The flow through the album takes the course of a river, changing at each turn between grooves and moods. There is an emotional quality to this up-and-down journey of sound that sweeps the listener into its currents. This is not an album I find I can take sitting down; It demands the listener to move, to dance!
The lyrical sounds created by the duets swathe and mold around the listener’s ears. Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez’s performances take on an ethereal tone when combined, with each track's uniqueness providing them with many outlets to express their vocal ambrosia. This vocal divinity is echoed in the rhythm section, with clear, driving bass lines and beats that desire movement, with violin that carries the listener through the album. At every turn there is skill, diversity and experimentation in the sound.
The title track Diamonds leads our expectations with quick rhythmic guitar and shatters them with the onset of a joyful and full vocal sound. It captures the listener within that touching moment and throws them forward with each following track. Pay Dearly empathizes with a slow grooving blue tone and a celtic sounding violin draw, without losing the aesthetic of a show in a small smokey bar. You & I calls touches of bluegrass to dance with electronica, with a whistle that grabs the heartstrings ever so slightly, inviting them to dance (I cannot refuse them). Home reenacts folksy harmonica in a most playful way, full of hope and loss in each stanza, and a smile throughout it all.
Each track is unique in its tone, forgivingly fading from one to the next,making the album as a whole an adventure in lyricism and rhythm, in joy and in sorrow, in moments of stillness and in expression of movement. Johnnyswim steadily provides this throughout the album within its grooves, its rises and falls, its sparseness next to it’s cacophony, without losing humour or love, such defining aspects of humanity. Johnnyswim’s Diamonds is a must listen for the audiophile searching for vocal gold wrapped in a diversity of tracks.