Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Often, there's just no denying it. Often, there's no denying them or ourselves. We sometimes wear ourselves out trying too hard. We are out there floundering, trying to put together the right string of words, tying together the correct feelings, to offer up as our soul-searching art or to offer up to the person that we want to be with. We give it hell. Boy do we give it hell. We stammer and we scribble. We erase and we toss balled up sheets of paper at the wastebasket that rest in the crux between the wall and the corner part of the desk we've been sitting at for far too long, growing steadily more agitated that we aren't getting any of it "right." For fuck's sake, why can't we just get it right?? Why can't it sound cool coming out of our mouths, out of our chests and veins? Why can't it sound hot coming out of our mouths and chests? What's our problem, anyway? The best of us tends to come when we're in the shower, when we're not thinking about it too much, when we're loose and able to just improvise. It bounces back off the tiles and we like what we hear, but we don't intend on keeping it. We come up with lines while we're running along a wood-chipped trail that's winding through a vacuum-sealed state park, a cluster of trees and frightened garter snakes and groundhogs. Everything that comes to us in those moments usually flees soon thereafter, none of it sticking around long enough for us to capture it on paper or put it into a jar for safe-keeping. We don't usually take care of these thoughts because we think they're too baring - they show too much of us and therefore we're as vulnerable as we ever become.
Brooklyn band Diamond Doves, better known at Elvis Perkins' Dearland on other days, have struck upon these moments when they're just being straight. There's a no bullshit sign flashing above their as-yet unreleased material that signifies that we're getting the pure cane, that these are their honest to goodness thoughts and feelings and it's here that we recognize a band writing and performing to please themselves and the loved ones they're singing about in beautiful multi-part harmony, and no one else, really. We read it often, where a band will be quoted in a magazine claiming that they just wanted to be true to themselves and if they wanted to write a song in a certain genre out of the realm of what people expect out of them, they'd just do it. It hardly ever happens though. It feels as if Diamond Doves, by writing songs almost specifically - but with wonderfully broad, Beatles-like strokes, where everyone can relate to something that, at one point, was a very minor thought had by one of those famous Liverpool lads - that they've struck unrivaled gold of sorts. The majority of their songs are odes to the sweet women in their lives. There are all kinds of honeys and sugars and babies and darlings being spoken to from all angles and the words sound to be the most sincere pieces of lyric that could have ever been penned. It's cutting all of the flowery ways of saying things - talking about broken hearts, talking about being together forever, dying without the other, doing anything for the other - and making them sound utterly brilliant and special as they come out fully formed and resplendent. They say everything right and the songs are big hearts that pump passionate kisses. We know exactly what they mean and we know that we're all going to stay together, in love, for as long as we both shall last.