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Un­like fel­low rock re­vival­ists and tour­mates Steel Pan­ther, Toronto hard rock­ers Diemonds aren’t out to make a punch­line of rock ’n’ roll (or them­selves) – they re­vere it. On their self-ti­tled third al­bum – their first as an in­de­pen­dent band – that rev­er­ence is ev­ery­where, from vo­cal­ist Priya Panda’s earnest lyrics to the way the band lithely nav­i­gates their gui­tar-driven sound.

Al­bum opener Breathe starts things off in an en­er­getic, un­re­lent­ing rush, es­tab­lish­ing a com­pelling sense of con­flict in a song about find­ing a mo­ment of pause.

Cen­tre­piece I Miss finds the group stretch­ing them­selves cre­atively by soft­en­ing some of their edges in favour of a nos­tal­gic, an­themic melody. Held in place by the rhythm sec­tion of Ty­rone Buc­cione and Kyle Le­court, the song’s solid groove frees up room for one of the al­bum’s most mem­o­rable gui­tar so­los, by C.C. Diemond.

The band has a clear com­mit­ment to their sound, but it’s un­der­mined when­ever they re­sort to cliché. I See Red, for in­stance, is rooted in a well-worn metaphor for anger in the rock realm, as their glammy pre­de­ces­sors in War­rant can at­test That de­vice be­comes the ba­sis for an unin­spired rhyme scheme and, ul­ti­mately, a song that weighs down the al­bum’s sec­ond half.

Whether it’s the first or lat­est in a discog­ra­phy, a self-ti­tled al­bum acts as a defin­ing state­ment, a way for a band to com­mu­ni­cate clearly that “this is us.” For Diemonds, that state­ment comes across most ef­fec­tively when they let their song­writ­ing and per­for­mances prove their rock rev­er­ence, and not the other way around. Top track: I Miss MR

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