It would be somewhat dismissive and insulting to refer to the new album from Canadian synth hero Diamond Rings (a.k.a. John O'Regan) as merely retro. Sure, it is. It really is. Anyone who grew up in the '80s or has an affinity for the music of the time can't help but listen and hear that past, the dark wave, the cold wave, the new wave, the old wave. Can't help but hear Howard Jones, Clan of Xymox, Depeche Mode, Leisure Process, Sique Sique Sputnik, Dead Or Alive, etc. Can't help but be won over, seduced and satisfied. It's stylish. It's sexy. It's voluptuous. It's superb. And it's also incredibly of now. Right now. Today. It's the musical equivalent of watching Drive, something that's so obviously anchored in the past -- the fashion, the pastels, the bright lights -- but so entirely in the present. And something that transcends merely that nostalgic yearning for what came before. The delivery, the presentation: Excellent. The songs: Incredible and lasting and substantive. It's impossible not to want to return to tracks such as "Runaway Love," "I'm Just Me," "A to Z," "Stand My Ground" and, probably most notably, "Day & Night." It's impossible to hear Free Dimensional and be struck by all of it and, especially, that vision that wraps it up and brings it all together. In a retro, futuristic, contemporary kind of way.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
-- Mike Bell, Postmedia News
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