After joining the warped pop band Foxygen, one-time Disney child star Shaun Fleming moved from L.A. to N.Y.C. and found himself cooped up in a small apartment with nothing to do. Perfect time for a side project, he thought, and Diane Coffee was born. If you know Foxygen at all, it will be no surprise that the album Fleming crafted, 2013's My Friend Fish, is an oddball take on various forms of pop and rock music powered by a his musical ambition and ability to make big, weird sounds out of whatever is on hand. Fleming tries his hand at funky psych pop ("New Years"), showy soul ballads that have him dropping to his knees and pleading for understanding ("All the Young Girls"), shambling boogie rock ("Never Lonely"), and stoner folk ("Tale of a Dead Dog"), and makes them all weird and kinda wonderful at the same time. He's a little less successful with the dirty funk of "Eat Your Love (With Sriracha)," but that's a hard row to hoe for anyone. He's far better off with tracks that are less forceful and more laid-back and spacey. Like the beautifully slack '50s doo wop ballad "Green" that ends the album on a wave of peaceful vibrations. Fleming proves to be something of a whiz at knocking out really fun, ramshackle pop. His voice may jump around like a puppy off its leash at times, but that's just indicative of the energy and enthusiasm Fleming brings to his songs. My Friend Fish is a really promising debut and a nice jolt of weirdo pop that should tides fans over until the next Foxygen album comes out.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra