The lines between music genres are increasingly blurring, creating some great sounds that manage to be both familiar and new. New York’s Paul Maged joins the ranks of artists that claim to be blurring the lines, creating a unique blend of sounds by mixing together punk, grunge, classic rock, indie pop, and ballads. The 17 tracks on his new album, Diamonds and Demons, do mix these different sounds together. While the well-constructed tracks will no doubt appeal to lovers of many styles, this album is not a genre bender.
The album, a follow-up to his 2007 debut album In My Time, is a product of Paul Maged’s hard work, from the lyrics to the piano, keyboards, and vocals. He got some help from Ari Friedman (electric, acoustic, and bass guitar, trumpet), Marc Hoffman (drums), and Sean Gill (accordion). The best part of the album is the lyrics, which revolve around such important social issues as climate change, elitism, human warfare, religion, greed, and our continuously evolving society.
Most of the songs fit in one of two categories: the slower, simple, soft rock, heartfelt songs, and the faster, more layered, rock songs. The album opens with a few songs in the former group, what with the short, heartfelt, piano-and vocal-only track “64th and 1st”, followed by a longer but just as heartfelt and simple guitar and vocal-driven track, “Annastasia”.
By the third track, “Blind Faith”, you feel like you have settled into Maged’s style: simple, well-constructed, and heartfelt songs, but he manages to surprise you in the following track, “Cause & Effect”, with the use of an electric guitar driving this uptempo song. The electric guitar fits well in the song “Diamonds & Demons” and although Maged has more of a soft rock, ballad-worthy voice, he manages to keep up with the electric guitar, uptempo songs. “Human Warfare” is also guitar-based, and with the increase in the intensity of both the drumming and the speed of the song, is the catchiest song to date. One can feel that Maged is pushing his own limits, as his voice doesn’t convincingly convey the darker emotions of this song. He has the same challenge in other songs such as “I’m Okay”.
All 17 songs manage to bring to the fore important concepts with as much depth as the media allows form, and would make for an interesting live show, with short introductions to the concepts adding to the depth of each song. More information is available on his official website.
Pictures provided by Independent Music Promotions.
First published here on Blogcritics.