By The Sword is an interesting and unexpected shift in dynamics for Free Diamonds. Unfortunately it’s not an entirely successful one either. Where as the band’s debut, There Should Be More Dancing, was at least endearing (if not sometimes grating), By The Sword lacks much of the band’s energetic style. The addition of female vocals to the band’s songs is interesting but seems a bit forced. They say you never miss something until it’s gone. Well, I guess they are right in regards to Free Diamonds. For the most part the band has abandoned their “grating” characteristics and damnit if I don’t miss them. There are some interesting ideas being pushed here though. The boys seem as if they have been listening to a little bit of Americana. It especially shows on the touching album closer, “My Boxing Days Are Over,” which is highlighted by a vocal and harmonica give and take. Too often though, the energy that highlighted the band’s past feels as though it has been sucked out. By The Sword limps through 16 songs only finding a true footing every few songs. Here’s hoping there are shinier days ahead for these diamonds.
RIYL: The Blood Brothers, Q And Not U, Les Savy Fav
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