Diamond-Fist Werny

Enchanted Parkway

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One of the most distinctive and unhyped bands hiding out on the sea bottom while the waves of grunge lashed overhead, Diamond-Fist Werny issued a second EP emphasizing the group's capture of trance elements in a pop base, though it's not nearly as trippy as the remixes that would come on Long View to the Sky. "Fountain Head" opens in warm tribalistic chanting courtesy of the multi-tracked vocals Todd Werny deploys throughout, and he puts together simple, strong images of nature, wholeness, and connectedness without flaying his subject matter into senseless save-the-whale strands. The four-piece band does less with more; Axel Mundi's reeds don't sound off as much as blend into the ecosystem, and the band's masterpiece, "Shining Moment," squeezes out vocal and instrumental/rhythmic notes alike with the delicacy of a Miles Davis solo. Werny even turns half-yawning vocalese into an unforgettable technique in context. The cover of the B-52's' "Planet Claire" shows what the latter-day band saw in the Athens freakateers: minor-key ostinato, drone opportunities, and space noises. But it isn't close to being the best song on the record, and that's a strong sign of victory.

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