Chicken Diamond – The Night Has A Thousand Eyes (2016)

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The title might suggest a turn toward easy listening but (thankfully) the 1962 pop hit by Bobby Vee is nowhere to be found here. Instead, the fourth album by the French rowdy blues one-man-band Chicken Diamond gives us more of the same full-on bite that graced the first three long players.

If there’s any distinction this time, it’s that Diamond’s vocal often gets further up front for The Night, revealing his flair for portraying a character with grit and sometimes sinister motives but with more nuance. And perhaps a departure or two from the raw, raucous blues-rock that he does so honestly without help from anyone else.

“Cursed Blood” is one of those excursions, a Nick Cave polka if Cave were ever to attempt a polka (and based on this song, that wouldn’t be such a bad idea). “Castle In The Desert” — with some free jazz sax courtesy of Pierrot Rault — could pass as the devil’s reading of ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” He’s a ghastly narrator for “Body Snatchers,” a song just made for Halloween. “Slow Wave Sleep” slows down the energy level just enough to let some space in on this CCR riff, and Diamond’s swaggering snarl with ill-intent barely obscured sets it apart: “Don’t you be afraid you got nothing to fear/can you feel my presence, can you see I’m near?”

That signature blues-punk growl remains his primary sound, and even there the influences from well before the age of punk can be felt: “Could Have Done So Much Better” (video above) has that one-chord hypnotic propulsion that traces all the way back to Bo Diddly, and he even references Diddly in the song. “I Feel So Good” is a John Lee Hooker kinda boogie. “Speed Demon” begins with otherworldly electro-drone noises before Diamond launches into his familiar blues crunch; “Badlands,” “Ghost On The Highway” and “Slot Machine” provide more of that relentless, heavy riffing.

The Night Has A Thousand Eyes is now available through Bandcamp. Visit Chicken Diamond’s website for more info.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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