I don’t know how they do it in Arizona, but that desert is home to a circle of hard-touring multi-instrumentalists that rivals any scene I’ve ever encountered. Diners is near the center of the web, meaning that the band overlaps in membership with the likes of Dogbreth, Blanche Beach, Amadou’s Crew, and a host of other Phoenix-area artists, to their immense benefit. I’ve seen Diners play at least half a dozen times in the last couple years, and the day that guitar harmony in “Good Zone” doesn’t make me go, “Oh shit!” is the day I give up on DIY shows. Much like, oh, the rest of their entire catalogue to date, Always Room is unbelievably tight and impossibly smooth—but not at the expense of depth. Sweet as it is, to sum this up as simple saccharine pop would be a disservice to what this band is capable of: shimmering harmonies, complex songwriting, unexpected progressions. Diners play something that’s accessible to literally anybody, but I mean that in a sense far from “bland and inoffensive.” It feels more like a warm welcome from a new friend. Now that I think of it, that’s a pretty decent description of Always Room as a whole.
–Indiana Laub (Phat’n’Phunky, [email protected], phatnphunky.com / Diet Pop, [email protected], dietpoprecords.com)