Special Affections

Album Review of Special Affections by Diamond Rings.

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Special Affections

Diamond Rings

Special Affections by Diamond Rings

Release Date: Jun 21, 2011
Record label: Astralwerks
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

81 Music Critic Score
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Special Affections - Excellent, Based on 3 Critics

Pitchfork - 82
Based on rating 8.2/10

It's almost inevitable that the frontman of a rock band will eventually want to strike out on his own, often to showcase material that's more tender and introspective than an amp-cranking, four-piece line-up allows. However, it's rare that these solo sojourns wind up eclipsing the work of the mothership act, and even rarer when they reveal the singer-dude's fondness for lipstick and eyeliner, facility with choreographed dance routines, and eagerness to call his sexuality into question. For those who aren't familiar with John O'Regan's workmanlike post-punk outfit the D'Urbervilles-- and, lamentably, few people outside the Toronto-Montreal indie-rock corridor are-- the magnitude of his transformation into lo-fi glitter god Diamond Rings can be quantified as such: imagine Britt Daniel decided one day that he really wanted to be Lady Gaga.

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Slant Magazine - 80
Based on rating 4.0/5

That glitzed-out figure with rainbow eyeliner you see on the cover of Special Affections isn’t some glossy disco-mag cutout or family-album relic; that’s John O’Regan as Diamond Rings, and as his attire suggests, he’s in the ancient business of avatar rock, creating a distant alter ego out of which his music flows. But Special Affections is at least crafted on a personal level; like many of O’Regan’s peers, it sounds like he made most of these songs sitting in his bedroom. The record plays like a low-rent version of Marc Bolan’s The Slider or David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, reworking grand, organic melodies with unassuming warmth—with maybe an added dash of disco.

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AllMusic - 80
Based on rating 8/10

Rather atypically for an act receiving the type of blog-buzz boost that Diamond Rings enjoyed leading up to this album's release, Special Affections presents John O'Regan (the singular man behind the confusingly plural moniker) as -- above all -- a singer and songwriter in the great pop/rock tradition of literary romantics. Granted, that probably wasn't the quality which first caught the attention of internet tastemakers -- more likely it was his rainbow eye-makeup, retro-‘80s synth pop stylings, goofily glammed-out low-budget video clips, and/or his knack for naggingly catchy hooks. Certainly, the fact that virtually every one of these songs boasts a melodic smart missile of a chorus contributes greatly to the album's appeal.

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