I no longer know what to expect when it comes to the creations of Tyler Tuohy, the guy behind the Diamond Carter name. I’ve come to know him over the past few months, and after a few messages about an updated sound, I was intrigued to see if this sonic change had indeed occurred. It sounds like it has, and Diamond Carter is making a return of some sort. Tyler, the curious character that is now the sole member of the once collective, ditched the baggage of the band (and most importantly, the saxophone), scratched a finished but never released LP and wrote some new material, arranged in a much more self-actualized sound that steers clear of the previous retro-cheer and extraneous part-layering.
Once Tyler decided to pursue the music in his own way, he strangely caught the attention of Matthew Odmark of Jars of Clay (yes, the Christian rock band), who promptly invited him to come record at his studio, free of charge. Some things don’t change, and if you know Tyler at all, you know that some things about him certainly never will. He rolled up to Gray Matter Studio in his “Satan is my homeboy” jacket, shook hands with the Christian rocker and cut four tracks that he very selectively collected as the Diamond Carter EP—it’s less peach and more punch, comparatively speaking. The songs have their usual strong lyrics paired with soft harmonies, acoustic string pings and a voice that sounds more matured, even if only conceptually. “God Knows,” a filed-away track from Diamond Carter’s past, gets a totally new arrangement, and the voice exhales over a more standard setup, breaking slightly and seamlessly shifting tempos to text-paint the lyrics. Bits of Nashville creep in by way of female harmonies and the rings of steel guitar, but it suits the song and the others on which they appear. These tracks make the EP sound like it’s not so much a comeback for the “newly solo” project as much as it is a relief from its past identity.
Give a listen to this Lockeland Springsteen exclusive premiere of “God Knows,” from the self-titled EP that comes out tomorrow, and go hear the new and improved Diamond Carter at Little Octopus tomorrow night. Tunes start at 9pm.