Diffuser - 2003 Making The Grade

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ARTIST: Diffuser
ALBUM: Making The Grade
LABEL: Hollywood Records
SERIAL: 2382-2
YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Tomas Costanza - vocals, guitars * Anthony Cangelosi - guitars, vocals * Peter Schojan - bass * Dan Leo - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 New High * 02 Get It On * 03 Only In The Movies * 04 Why * 05 I Wonder * 06 Far And In Between * 07 Breakaway * 08 Here's To You * 09 She's All Mine * 10 Long Way From Home * 11 Nothing Left To Say * 12 Avoid The Friction

Background

Presumably after bowing to pressure from the hierarchy at Hollywood Records, Diffuser have developed a more commercial sound on their latest release 'Making The Grade'.

The bands debut album 'Injury Loves Melody', wasn't as slick, mainstream or even contrived as parts of this latest effort are, but then again, it didn't sell well, so a follow-up album containing a more commercially-minded set of tunes is no surprise.

The Songs

Even though the punchy, anthemic opener 'New High' is as predictable and unoriginal as such bubblegum pop punk songs come, the good news is that overall, Diffuser still manage to display a more cerebral approach to the genre than artists like Sum 41 or Blink 182 for instance.

'Get It On' hints at that and like 'Only In The Movies', is deliciously infectious and melodic. On tunes like these, though, it does seem as if Diffuser's sole intention is to batter your brain into submission with a continuous barrage of high-gloss choruses, but although 'Here's To You' again falls into that category, the sheer attitude of vocalist Tomas Costanza's lyrics is undeniably appealing.

Why the band have attempted to mimic Sugar Ray on the awful 'Breakaway' is a mystery, but the likes of 'Far And In Between', 'Why' and the dark and brooding 'Long Way From Home' show a more welcome side to the band's sound.

In Summary

'Making The Grade' isn't a bad album.

There's plenty of melody and clever lyrics but its lack of continuity and focus shows a band caught between the poles of self-expression and commercialism, and as a result, they are unable to sound entirely convincing.


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