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A SoCal band all the Brit kids love

Warm and comforting, each song emits a tangible nostalgic quality, like an old monochromatic 1940s movie classic. Coming soon to an indie radio station near you. By Paul Olund
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

By most standards, Low vs. Diamond is already a success. 

When asked, the band of SoCal 20-somethings can rattle off an impressive resume, full of major radio appearances, big-label tour bookings and posh industry contacts. But the magazine cover shoots, sold-out stadium shows and platinum-selling records that come with fame will have to wait, at least a little while. Low vs. Diamond has yet to release a track west of the Atlantic. 

The foursome’s four-song intro EP, “Life After Love,” dropped Feb. 5 in England, 5,437 miles away from their Los Angeles homestead.  “Everything is sort of happening over in the UK right now for us,” says drummer Howie Diamond.

He’s right. Since restructuring last year — losing a member, adding two more and changing their name — Low vs. Diamond has penned two record deals (with The Killers’ hit-makers Marrakesh no less) a management contract (rumor has it, after playing before industry reps only once), knocked out a set of promo shows, snagged time on British broadcasting and secured a spot on a spring Euro tour with The Sounds.

Their success is no surprise. The group — led by Diamond and singer Lucas Field, and backed by synth master Tad Moore, guitarist Anthony Polcino and bassist Jonathon Pancoast — projects an anthemic brand of post-punk rock that’s made for the masses. Shimmering guitar, moody keys and soaring vocal melodies paint artful landscapes, drip-dropping complex instrumentations over savage emotional themes to create a complex musical mixture.

Warm and comforting, each song emits a tangible nostalgic quality, like an old monochromatic 1940s movie classic. Field sells it on the title track: “In between reality and dreams / is the fight of my will again / before they catch me I’m gonna give myself away and show you life after love.” Imagine it as the musical backdrop to “Casablanca’s” tearful finale: “Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.”

On “Life After Love”, the band is all musical melodrama, resonating early influences like U2 and David Bowie, along with next-geners, The Strokes and The Killers. As dark as Ziggy Stardust wandered, Low vs. Diamond attempts to whack a darker path, tracking songs on death, drugs and addiction. On “Stay Awake”:  “And you’re really not sure if tomorrow’s gonna work all right / and you’ve been down cuz you know you’ve been out too long / standing in line with your little sign / begging for change but you know you’ve been around too long.”

“This is Your Life” extends even deeper into the gloom: “I waited all day by your side / all you could do was just hide / this is yourself / falling away, you reach for the sun / afraid of the day / quit counting your tears / cuz we’re in the world.” Beneath the somber subject matter, the track’s gentle guitar and rolling crescendos provide a soothingly appropriate reprieve from the disc’s more up-tempo fare.

From track to track, Field is pitch perfect, his smooth timbre drawing the listener from one song to the next. Before long, “I’ll Be” is pounding into the album’s finale. Field raps: “I close my eyes and see things from the past and I just laugh and I know I’ll be.”

Live, the band inundates its carefully polished sound with euphorically unpredictable performances. A show that’s garnered attention locally, the band has a rabid loyal following that’s helped finance the group’s transition from weekend rocker wannabes into full-time, moneymaking musicians (before snatching a record deal, Field worked as a security guard, Diamond in a mailroom and Moore plugged Web code for an online ad agency).

Low vs. Diamond heads into the studio this summer to begin recording the first full length; it’s expected to hit UK charts sometime this fall. And for fans back home? The boys of Low vs. Diamond promise they’ll return — some day.

For more info on Low vs. Diamond visit: http://www.myspace.com/lowvsdiamond.