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| 25 October 2012 | Reply

Label: MGM Distribution
Released: 26 October 2012
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

The popular conception for years has been that Daniel Johns was the musical genius in Silverchair, and drummer Ben Gillies and bassist Chris Joannou merely lucky mates who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

From the opening song on Bento’s debut album, Diamond Days’ title track, Gillies shows he has every bit as wide-screen cinematic musical vision as his former bandmate.

As the album progresses there is a real journey to be undertaken – a trip through a myriad of musical styles, through lyrical themes which are as oblique as they are personal and sometimes surprising.

Musically there is pure pop, funk, r&b, soul, rock, psychedelia – often all in the same song, and none of the tracks sound alike, even though they are obviously linked and work together as a cohesive whole.

He’s explained that this is “an album of self discovery, of finding myself”, and though in one sense this is a solo project, it’s also a band.  Thomas Rawle (Papa Vs Pretty) plays lead guitar, Scott Aplin (Silverchair, TV show The Voice) controls keyboards, Dave Symes (Missy Higgins) is on bass, and Eris J Dubowsky co-produces with Gillies, whose vocals are warmly suited to these personal songs.

Melodies leap out and entangle the listener while the music jumps from style to style – West Side Story has a Sixties pop feel to it; Miss My Mind sounds like a modernised take on a Beatles outtake – part Walrus, part Helter Skelter; the chorus to Obsession is darkly catchy chart pop; Living Strong is a boogie rocker retooled with electronic handclaps that goes into a swirling breakdown reminiscent of John Lydon’s PiL, of all things, before coming back out of the rabbithole again; April Fool could be poppy R&B laced with indie sensibilities…

Confused?  Don’t be – Diamond Days is a frolic through a musical circus with Gillies as the top hated ringmaster directing the action as he lends his voice to his innermost thoughts, and a sometimes cosy, sometimes startling statement of intent from someone who might just have been undervalued for far too long.

Category: CD Reviews

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