Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Love is hard. It must be. No, it is. It's a terrible burden and it can be trying and gruesome. It can be wholesome and lasting too, but boy, is hat ever some rarefied territory. It's the reason we give a huge goddamn care when couples celebrate their silver anniversaries and such. Hell, it's so difficult to make work, that we salute those who stay together for a year or two, believing such a duration to be a testament to longevity and the will of two people to make it all work out. It's the most difficult and demanding thing that people get themselves into and out of every day and it's never going to change. It's the best news that you could give Iowa City, Iowa, soul band The Diplomats of Solid Sound, which is blessed to experience and hear about relationships getting messed up left and right - all with one-of-a-kind scripts and exact points of weakness, where the thread popped loose and something grabbed a hold of it and just yanked the living daylights of it, leaving the former construct lying in a disorganized pile of mess on the ground. Within their songs, the Diplomats and the Diplomettes, there are a number of strong women - albeit after being confused and probably delusional women - taking matters into their own hands, asking the hard questions and more times than not, kicking the trash to the curb. Most of the relationships that are hashed out here are on the downhill side, if not completely sunk, ready to be discarded and forgotten about as there are countless ungrateful and shitty men getting their asses checked and put into place. The women in Diplomats songs are letting plenty of doors hit plenty of asses on the way out. It's a no holds barred method of dealing with the decline in passion and civility, much less anything still resembling a feeling of love that was suspected to have been there at the start. The Diplomettes, the female choir that commandeers the vocal duties, over the smooth grooves of Hammond organ, pumping guitar, brass, bass and drums, sing about the deadbeats in their lives and in others as if they can think of no one lower in form of standing. We get the feeling that these men did not have much asked of them and yet they fucked it all up anyway. They couldn't do the least possible amount of work to keep a woman satisfied. The girls sing on "Jealous," "Are you jealous?/Is that why you treat me like dirt?" and we realize that those women know that they're dealing with some form of scum and what they turn the experiences into are gritty responses to their unfortunate suffering. They sound as if they'll get the last laugh by delivering a swift kick to the groin and then heading for the hills.