Review Summary: A good pop record that doubles as a pretty good indie/math rock record
A steady trend in music lately tends to be something that isn’t trendy. This paradox can easily lead to some painfully bad groups, but some pleasant surprises as well. A brother-sister duo from Sacramento has delivered one of 2011’s pleasant surprises, and with an interesting yet do-able genre amalgamation. The Lydell siblings, Tyler and Juli, comprise The Dreaded Diamond. Getting along with mostly just a keyboard and drums, they released Healthy Fears. Sitting on a modest six tracks, the two have put forth a summery feeling album with some highs, but a few lows as well.
Featuring light pop tendencies and math rock style drumming, TDD cruise along at a comforting pace. Juli’s unique voice takes a few different directions throughout, as does the music itself. Added in with some clever lyrics and warm keyboard pieces, her contribution is a focal point of the album. The harmonization between her voice and instrument are presented rather than forced, which is a welcoming feature of their style.
TDD offer up an inviting atmosphere, most likely the product of the two-instrument dominance of the whole record. There is some violin present thanks to a guest on the album, but the “group” itself contains just the two Lydell’s. Tyler’s drumming goes somewhere between airy accents and pounding toms to fill the void at some times and to let the track go at others.
This all sounds like a fitting combination, but at times it seems the music lacks cohesiveness. Typically, it comes in the fashion of the course of just one song. An unexpected shift in tempo or volume can come in when the current pace was part of that inviting atmosphere they created. The latter half of the album contains the more ballad style tracks. And that’s including the math rock drum break almost halfway through “Death By Fugu”.
Even though there are some impulsive sounding switches in dynamics, it’s not enough to quell their creative outputs, such as the circus-esque ending to “Things The Flood Gave Us”, arguably the most entertaining track. The entirety of Healthy Fears is short, but the sampling is plenty to whet an appetite for their style of pop meets indie rock.