Rick McNulty hosts Left of the Dial on Fridays, 7-11 pm. Follow him on Twitter @Rick_Daddy
No, it’s not a female singer/songwriter. It’s a dude. An immensely talented and musically capable dude who uses “Diane” as a nod to Diana Ross. Shaun Fleming was once the drummer for Foxygen, but it’s a reasonable assumption that he’s leaving that perilous band behind for what he’s cranking out now: soulful indie pop. Soulful is the key word since several of these songs sound like Northern Soul (think Motown or Bert Berns) arranged by Brian Wilson.
My first experience with Diane Coffee was “Mayflower,” the track you’ve been hearing on KUTX. It kicks off with a Memphis Horns blast of brass then mellows into a ramshackle verse of garage rock which is in turn disrupted by an explosive chorus straight out of Meatloaf’s wildest dreams. This is not a mix of styles you hear every day.
The rest of the album is just as eclectic. “Spring Breathes” opens with Beach Boys harmonies that soon devolve into psychedelic sludge and just as quickly softens into a ‘70s California vibe. It’s demented, and yet brilliant. Another stunning track is “Everyday:” this is what happens if you add an angelic choir buffered by Fleming’s beautiful falsetto over a lost Marc Bolan groove.
My only complaint is that the fidelity sounds compromised — and not on purpose. It’s like everything is struggling to burst out of your speakers. But the songs and performances stand on their own. Hear them live on Tuesday, March 1, at 3:00 in Studio 1A on KUTX and later that night at the Mohawk.