One of the best singles of the nineties, Stardust’s “The Music Sounds Better With You” — primarily the work of Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter — featured Benjamin Diamond on vocals. It must be hard being known for one song that wasn’t even yours, and Diamond is clearly trying to blaze his own path with Out of Myself, which, despite being on dance label !K7, is a pretty straight-forward indie-pop record. The attempt is admirable, and though Diamond is a competent songwriter, the songs too often end up dull and emotionally clichéd.
Diamond goes for summery melodies on songs like “No One Knows” and the obvious attempt at a single “Let’s Get High,” but both songs sound like adult-contemporary stabs at indie. Most of the record drones on, with only the occasional enjoyable moment — a hard, driving guitar here, an electronic flourish there. The lyrics are equally dull: “I just wanna be honest with you, baby. Let’s get high; let’s get high.”
This might be the most difficult kind of music to make notable. To paraphrase Godard, all you need to make a pop-rock song is a guitar and a girl, so music of this sort that’s simply competent just doesn’t cut it. “She’s Away” is the only standout song, with a cello backup and a strong performance from Diamond. But it’s too little too late. Diamond has made another record to add to the pile at your local record store, one you’ll browse past to get to the good stuff.