It is an odd, if not courageous, choice for a young band to adopt the old man’s musical style known as blues rock yet that is what Riff Diamond have done with their album “Sapphire” showing that they have done their research on the blues rock playbook well.
I am, however, still drawn to wonder if this decision was the wisest of stylistic choices as this album never even strives to be anything other than backward looking and thus does not provide many opportunities for the talents of those involved to shine in today’s spotlight. There is, for example, an overwhelming reliance on the guitar of Conal O'Donoghue and yet he is never actually given, or perhaps never takes, the opportunity to stamp his personality on any of the songs. Becky Baxter, to her credit, does use her voice to effectively to force her way forward and take ownership of a couple of the songs with “Masquerade” and “Count Me Out”, therefore, standing out from the otherwise undistinguished crowd. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are also a couple of leaden and predictable covers – “Hey Joe” and “Whole Lotta Love” – on this album that, again, do nothing to highlight what might make this band different from the crowd.
Perhaps there was some of sort of commercial decision behind choosing blues rock as the way to go as there are many, many blues rock focussed festivals out there looking for bands to fill the bill yet, even with the thought of dollars in my mind, I can only generate only limited enthusiasm for any young band who seem to want to sound old.