Ladies and Gentlemen...
Fabulous Diamonds
by Doug Elliott

After a month-long tour throughout the United States, Melbourne’s Fabulous Diamonds have seemingly conquered this land with the same ease that their music infects your mind and body with wonderful vibes. I am writing this in awe of not only their incredible debut LP on Siltbreeze Records and their transfixing live show, but also their presence as great people who will be welcomed back to the States as often as they can return.

It was only a year ago that the duo, comprised of Nisa Venerosa on drums and vocals and Jarrod Zlatic on keys, tapes, vocals and drum machine, quietly released a 7-inch single on Australian label Nervous Jerk. The single did well in their homeland, but only trickled into the West until Siltbreeze’s Tom Lax sniffed the art-dub smoke wafting from the disc. Lax promptly took a liking to their wholly original sound, fusing British femme-punk, ala the Raincoats and Kleenex, with the organic feel of Joe Gibbs’ classic reggae production. The duo experimented with echo and delay, dub’s post-production and punk’s strict minimalism, all without guitars. Refreshing, to say the least.

Fast-forward to May 2008 as the Diamonds unleash their self-titled debut album. The record follows the same path as their single only with a more refined vision, some of it astonishingly original. Airy, smoke-filled drones reminiscent of Suicide permeate much of the record, but this is not an aggressive statement. Instead, the Diamonds generate positivity through trance-like grooves and warm minimalism. Music this skeletal typically comes off as icy and disconnected, but Fabulous Diamonds possess a pulse like no other.

Live, they are no less enthralling. Their set at Carabar in Columbus on June 23 was the best performance I’ve seen all year. The Diamonds played most if not all the material from their LP and seemed to enjoy the response from the crowd more than the dancing mass enjoyed their set. They ended with a 10-minute long electronic-based jam rooted more in classic acid than anything punk or dub. It was a mind-blowing show.

The duo of Jarrod and Nisa have been some of the kindest musicians this country has seen in many moons, and the nation has responded. Their LP and live show have been given the acclaim they deserve, and the two should return to Australia knowing they have accomplished more than any touring band could wish or imagine. They will play their final show of the tour on July 15 at Piano’s in New York.