Diamonds in the Blood, is the sophomore album for the Melburnian alternative country four-piece, Raised by Eagles. This album is the album for those people who honestly try and get into country music but listen to the likes of Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban and go, “I don’t get it”. This is raw, no-nonsense, country tinged folk music. Its the kind of music to listen to when driving through the country or remembering a rural home with a congregated iron roof and a rusty tractor.
The majority of tracks on the album are richly painted narratives. They present the listener with extravagant landscapes, beautifully constructed, both lyrically and musically. These songwriters know how to create a rural sound, despite coming from the urban North Melbourne. The lead singer presents us with numerous lines that stay with us after listening to the album. The last track, Day Fall, presents us with a beautiful simile, “Days fall away like dying leaves. You get a little time in the sun, then you’re riding the breeze”. The character study, Jackie, brings back a romantic figure from youth, “Jackie was a tough kid, she got up when the moon did”.
The vocals are reminiscent of Bob Dylan’ vocals on Nashville Skyline. They have a sense of authenticity that may not be technically perfect, but nonetheless maintain a kind of beat swagger. The instruments consist mostly of acoustic guitars, bass, drum kits, electric guitars, classic country and folk slide guitars as well as harmonicas. The sound is raw. Simple instrumentation, following a simple but effective traditional country format.
Although this simple and raw format is what give Raised by Eagles a certain appeal, it sort of indicates why it might become boring to some listeners. There is a repetitiveness to a lot of the songs that appear on the album. Most of the slower songs, which constitutes six out of the eight, follow very simple verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, chorus formats. Someone could hear that and say “awesome, simple, no-fuss country songs”. Or they may think “I am sick of these boring country song that all sound the same”. It really depends on the listener. If you have patience this album will prove a worthwhile listen. There are some great messages in here, but the album is not going to spoon feed it to you, you have to find it.