September 20, 2023

Swedish band Diamonds and Guns were formed in 2019. It’s the usual story, four young friends who decided to start a band, followed by squabbles over what to call themselves. After a series of suggestions that simply stank, they settled on Diamonds and Guns, clearly influenced by some of the cheaper Western films knocking around! Through the pandemic, the band recorded three home-made and self-recorded singles and videos (The Lonesome Man, Cheers To Us and Singing Songs From Hell), but now, with the legendary Tomas Skogsberg (The Hellacopters, Entombed, Backyard Babies, with more) behind the mixing desk, the band has stepped up a gear and created their debut EP Making Cash For Heartless Crooks.

Diamonds and Guns are:
Victor Ekvall – vocals, gitarr(!)
Pontus Rask – guitar
Kimmy Roxx  – Bass
Thomas Norstedt – drums

The EP is just a little bit happier, chirpier than their early work – which was wonderfully labelled by one wag as “Pirate-Party-Punk with a Irish tone”! This time around the music is perhaps more mature, with a hint of nostalgia and wistful reflections on summer romances – ah, that ol’ teenage rock’n’roll thing! The band cites their main influences as being America’s west coast punk rock scene – and that’s certainly evident in their style and in their band name Diamonds and Guns. Melancholic, harmonious, energetic, with some lovely dynamics between darkness and light in the lyrics – this is quality stuff.

The EP contains of a total of five tracks including a beautiful intro and four songs. Intriguingly, the short Intro is actually an alternative, extended ending for the final track Oh Thx for Friday, and routinely features as such in live gigs. It’s a little gem in itself though!

So Long Chicago is next, released as a single and see the video below. A modern and very catchy “punky” track, reminiscent of Green Day, although to my mind Powerpop would be a more accurate tag, in common with so many young “Scandi bands”. Singer Victor’s vocals are superb and the band are so melodic and up-beat, clearly having a lot of fun – distinct shades of The Offspring, it’s just great fun all round!

Nevertheless is a classic melodic West Coast powerpop number, like a beefier version of the Beach Boys in the way that bands like Weezer and Wheatus are. It’s a tale of nostalgia and summer vibes, and what might have been…..we’ve all been there! September continues that theme of rethe Moodminiscing, more jingle-jangle guitar riffs, pacey and up-beat, a big chorus – bouncy, that’s the word, again in the style of The Offspringin

Oh Thx for Friday is the EP’s aforementioned closer. It starts off with a burst of the 30’s swing classic In The Mood before an almost apologetic cough, followed by a merciless three-chord thrash! It’s perhaps the most “alternative /experimental / theatrical” track of the EP, yo-yoing around several styles and changes of mood – by turns melancholic, danceable, disco rhythms (!), a hint of “Careless Whisper” a la George Michael, some lovely sax and tasty guitar – there’s all sorts in here, I love it!

All in all this is 17 minutes of good fun, there’s a lot of sheer entertainment in here, and it shows great promise for a band with a wicked sense of humour – I really enjoyed this, and look forward to the next instalment!