The Diamond Sessions
This much is clear: Tyler Mechem knows how to write a hit song. Throughout The Diamond Sessions, the Crowfield singer touches upon universal themes of love and emotion with a clean, powerful vocal performance. At times, those themes seem specifically designed for consumption by college freshmen. Take, for example, the hook from "Change of Heart": "Oh baby, you know me/I've practiced this all day/because I would like to kiss you [pause for dramatic effect] if that's OK." The song "Three Short Words" draws from the same vein, with its chorus of "Three short words won't ever make it right." Some of these lyrics should come with a warning for diabetics — they're heartbreakingly sweet and sugary.
The album is stunningly good for what it is. Both "Change of Heart" and opening track "Catching Up" are radio-ready. These tunes easily stand alongside any polished contemporary rock hit charting nationally, and that's clearly what Mechem and his bandmates — Micah Nichols, Parker Gins, Ethan Ricks, and Whitt Algar — were going for. After breaking off of their record label last year, the band financed The Diamond Sessions with a Kickstarter campaign. Instead of dropping the heavy production and documenting the live sound they've developed over the years, Crowfield added strings and horns, achieving the soaring feel of a pop radio hit.
Pull the album up on iTunes; you'll see its genre has been labeled "rock." While the disc's epic-guitar closing track "Black Hills" can claim that category, the Rolling Stones this is not. Train or Matchbox Twenty? Perhaps. But even those comparisons don't do Crowfield's songcraft and production talents justice.
Although it was produced in Atlanta's Black Dog Studios with acclaimed engineer Rick Beato at the helm, The Diamond Sessions is one of those locally released discs that immediately raises eyebrows, asking the question, "This came out of Charleston?"
Overall, The Diamond Sessions may be too shiny for indie-rock, but it might fit well next to some of the new stuff released in the national scene. (crowfieldmusic.com)
Crowfield performs the Hard Rock Cafe in Myrtle Beach on Fri. July 20 and at the Pawley's Island Tavern in Pawley's Island on Thurs. July 26.