Spark Is a Diamond

Try This on for Size

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Imagine a band packaged to look just like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (including a deceptively stylish frontwoman possessed of spine-shivering growl and a creepy-ass stare), but who sound like a deathcore band gone dance music and you'll have Philadelphia trio Spark Is a Diamond. Originally formed in the summer of 2006 by said glass-gargling vocalist, Alison Bellavance, and guitarist/singer Matt Boylan, following the breakup of previous band Fall River (by all accounts an ordinary deathcore band), Spark Is a Diamond recorded this, their debut full-length, with recently instated human drummer, Joe Crawford, innumerable electronic gadgets, and extensive programming help from outside contributors. But even though the results certainly sound intriguing and unconventional on first listen, the album proves tiresomely repetitive in the long term. For starters, the novelty shock value presented by Bellavance's animal roar is quickly nullified by its emotional inflexibility and tonal limitations; and after yielding a few memorable moments in the title cut, "_____ _____ Has a Deathwish," and "President of the Wrong Crowd," Boylan's very sporadic and rather timid clean singing inexplicably peters out as quickly as his more imaginative circular guitar riffs. A pair of short, digital interludes don't make much of an impression, and although electronic music fans may find some value in the more varied beats and synths found on album closing "Re-Wish/Death Wish," there's no telling who will seriously buy into the band's seemingly contrived cover of Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It (Real Good)." OK, so give Spark Is a Diamond a little credit for striving to sound different in a copycat music world (even while ripping off another group's fashion plate); but, at the end of the day, Try This on for Size's prevailing electronic beats are bound to shoo away most metal and hardcore purists on principle alone, while the tuneless screeching that must be endured throughout will clear the average dancefloor faster than a three alarm fire. Somewhere in between, Spark Is a Diamond will surely find a small, but supportive niche of fans.

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