Fabulous Diamonds : Commercial Music
There are very few elements which conspire to form Fabulous Diamonds’ inimitable output. Nisa Venerosa’s hypnotic drumwork and detached vocals, Jarrod Zlatic’s methodical synthesised organ lines – that’s pretty much all there is to it (though Mikey Young’s production is not to be discounted). Commercial Music, the first Fabulous Diamonds record with a title, and the first to contain songs with titles, still operates within these bounds, but it does so with far more levity and a more uninhibited approach than what is found on previous material.
That’s not to say the record isn’t anchored by uneasiness – the cleaner, more conventional elements of the album’s six tracks often serve as a means to accentuate the troubled drone and acerbic stabs which formerly sat at the surface.
The album opens with a blaring synth organ, sustaining a single note for the course of two minutes and thirty seconds – punctuated by a hammering piano strike and a repetitive, exclusively toms drumline – before manipulating gears into a gentle soar. The layers are placed upon each other violently, with the track’s crescendo forming a cyclone of ill-fitting high-pitched squeals and percussive debris.
There’s a subtle chiming sample underlying the intro to Lothario. It doesn’t stay for long. The second half of the track explores and has its way with a basic melody to the point of near-erotic asphyxiation. On first listen, ??? sounds resoundingly hi-fi. The playful synth toots eventually make way for something more drawn out, then into something ridiculously chirpy, before culminating in an abrupt orchestral close.
Wandering Eye has a chorus. Perhaps it’s the first Fabulous Diamonds track to have one, I dunno. It’s the most conventional the duo have sounded, something more likely to be found on Venerosa’s concurrent outfit Bushwalking.
Of the album’s six tracks, John Song is the only one that fails to fire. The track never deviates from its set course, providing a shallow and unfulfilling, and ultimately grating, tale of Barkly Square, cider bottles and lines of speed over sub-standard instrumentation. Dole-core isn’t one of Fabulous Diamonds' strengths.
Downhill’s playful synth bounce hammers in a sublimation from a clean, The Knife-like, bounce into something far nastier. Then at the six minute mark, a spaced out melody intrudes to provide the ultimate payoff, utilising tones which are foreign to Fabulous Diamonds, tones which would make Wendy Carlos proud. The album closes with a soothing dissipation from the jarring syncopation into a wash of uplifiting synths.
Commercial Music is Fabulous Diamonds’ best record. Whether or not its title is a sardonic label of what is perceived to be a charting of progression or success, the product itself shows that the outfit are most definitely on the right track.
BY LACHLAN KANONIUK
Best Track: Downhill
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Little Joy MY DISCO, First Time BUSHWALKING
In A Word: Polished