Not a whole lot can be said about Diet Kong. According to their MySpace page (yes, people still do use that these days), they come from Brooklyn and the Catskill Mountains in New York. They’ve been members of the site since February of 2006, so they’re not exactly newbies to the music business. And their genre? Alternative, indie, and live electronics. There are three members, and list their major influences as Modest Mouse, Depeche Mode, LCD Soundsystem, among many other obscure bands. I really like their style—the brightly colored artwork plastering their page, and the simple quote, “I want to live and I want to love. I want to catch something that I might be ashamed of” which prances across their status box. They debuted with their album Coma Motor Inn back in 2008, and have recently released their sophomore effort entitled Beautiful Blackout. And I must say, this 5-song record is definitely a welcome addition to my iTunes library.
“Shoot The Freak” kicks off the album to a pulsating start. The bass thumps as if the listener is in some posh, big-city nightclub, but soon introduces the guitar and drums—giving us a reminder that this is alternative music at its very best and most thrilling. “A Forest” is quite psychedelic—featuring screeching guitar chords and hazy vocals echoing the woes of losing control of one’s head. The next tune, “Skin Color Crayon,” brings to mind a classic Beatles song, but reincarnated with the raspy vocals unique to groups like Kings of Leon. The trio slows it down a bit with “Open”—pulling out all the excess electronica, and replacing it with the classic kind of rock one might’ve found the Grateful Dead or Janis Joplin crooning out to during a concert. To top it off, “Beautiful Blackout” returns to the pounding beats of the first tune, but not with near as much energy. They possess the same distant, out-there voices, but both the weak lyrics and vocals could’ve used a kick from some extra electronic tones. Not to fret though, every album has its weak spot.
Overall, this was a great surprise of an album, and I honestly wish there were more than just a mere 5 songs on it. I can’t see the group ever going mainstream or making an appearance at the Grammys, but I don’t think that’s their intention. They serve as the perfect soundtrack for the hipster crowd that’s looking to go out and have some fun—and I could only imagine how surreal it would be to see them in concert. Although Modest Mouse, Depeche Mode, and LCD Soundsystem may influence them, I personally like them better. Diet Kong is a funky, hip, and adrenaline rush of a band to listen to, which their album Beautiful Blackout perfectly exemplifies.