Diners’ “Three” is Their Most Personal Record Yet
Diners – “Three” Release, September 15
I’ve been lucky enough to catch Diners live several times, and one thing that strikes me about every performance I’ve seen is how different they were from one another. On several occasions they’ve been a full five person band, once they featured a two drum setup and a quieter sound, and another time the crowd sat on the floor around Tyler Broderick (the band’s lead singer, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter) as he played a solo set in a Tempe living room. Two things have been consistent throughout each of these however: the fun, inviting music, and the enthusiastic crowd reaction. In that way, the release of their third album, Three, was like any other Diners show.
The music they played, however, was some of their most consistently impressive. With every track the band put online leading up to the official release, I got more and more excited about their newest offering and, listening to it in full, Three doesn’t disappoint. It’s certainly a feel-good album: upbeat even in its quieter moments, and, like previous Diners releases, remarkably personal. Broderick’s lyrics about attending concerts, remembering his childhood, and finding motivation are plainly written but always effective.
A Diners live show is very different from listening to their recorded material. Three features a mix of acoustic and electric guitars, keyboard, trombone, midi instruments, and more. In fact, the rich, varied instrumentation is one of my favorite aspects of the album. Some of the songs have so much going on at once, while others like “So are You,” are more quiet and subdued. Nothing feels out of place, and each little instrumental flourish feels like it is an integral part of the song it’s in.
The live band featured two guitars, drums, bass, and omnichord. In comparison to the recorded material, even a full band like this can sound stripped-down, but they aren’t trying to perfectly recreate the experience of listening to the album. Instead, they make up for it with pure energy. A Diners show, no matter what the lineup, is always fun. Hearing the song on a record and hearing it live are two totally different experiences, and seeing how a song is transformed for the stage always impresses me.
Several of the songs, like “Fifteen on a Skateboard” and “In My Hometown” have been in rotation at previous shows, and were received with appropriate enthusiasm by a crowd who seemed to know most of the lyrics. What I found myself enjoying the most were some of the newer songs that I hadn’t seen live before. In particular, “Beauty,” one of my favorite songs on the album, translated live incredibly well. The show ended with Broderick singing along to “Must Be Nice” from last year’s EP It’s All True. When it was over, the band came back to the stage and was greeted with tremendous cheers.
In short, Three is an excellent, interesting album that I’ve listened to a lot already and will continue to listen to for a long time. But don’t just check them out on Bandcamp. If you like Diners’ music, you owe it to yourself to see them live as well. You won’t be disappointed.
Three is out on Asian Man Records. Diners’ first album was recently reissued by Lauren Records on vinyl and Warped Your Records on cassette.
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