There’ll Be Diamonds by Portland-based band Super XX Man is the kind of album that should accompany a long-distance road trip. The effortless transitions between tracks make it an easy listen from beginning to end.
The vocals‘ conversational tone echoes that of Simon and Garfunkel, which helps to make the music accessible. However, what makes the music stand out is the instrumental contrast between the slow, easy strumming of the acoustic guitar and the heavy echoes of the bass, which demands attention from the background like a petulant child.
The plucky, plunky guitar style of the album’s first half changes by the second as the band begins to experiment with folk twangs, sparse lullabies and piano-driven melodies.
The standout song is the title track, “There’ll Be Diamonds,” a great sway-inducing song that still retains the organic and compact feel of the rest of the album. Another track worth listening to is “It’s Now,” which picks up on the nuances of the album’s hills and valleys.
The album’s weaving of vocals and instruments, shifting volumes and skillful overlaps are still pretty after multiple listens. The music has a great way of breaking down the world to its simplest of forms.
Super XX Man played in Davis along with Brooklyn-based band Donny Hue and the Colors last Saturday.
Give these tracks a listen: “There’ll Be Diamonds,” “It’s Now“
For fans of: Neutral Milk Hotel, Simon and Garfunkel