Robert Starks and the Dianmondtones Dance Band are back with new music
Robert Starks and the Dianmondtones Dance Band are making waves with their two new single releases “21st Century Grandma” and “Text-MEE-Baby”. The first track is an instrumental high on melodic value while the second is a much more straightforward R&B burner. Starks and his fellow musicians prove as capable tackling instrumental numbers as they are vocal-focused cuts. Both tracks maintain a strong commercial slant. It is the latest high point in a lengthy career that has brought him renown through multiple decades, but there’s no sign of Starks slowing down on either of these performances. He sounds just as engaged as ever and in full command of his considerable musical powers.
The electric guitar playing sizzling a trail through “21st Century Grandma” has a wiry bite rather than overwhelming listeners with six string histrionics. It pursues a consistent melodic path a little over three minutes with some breezy and brief breakdowns built into the structure. The lead guitar rings out a number of variations on the central theme to keep things interesting and the restless percussive base for the song keeps it percolating throughout. Starks’ conga playing stands out from the mix.
Melody is what makes the first track stand out more than anything else. The song with vocals is undisputed king of the airwaves, but instrumentals such as this have a chance to make a mark thanks to their infectious quality. The hook for “21st Century Grandma” is insistent and memorable. Production is key as well. The first song plays so well for listeners thanks to the superb balance Starks’ achieves with its sound. The ensemble performance moves as one and doesn’t compete for the listener’s attention.
“Text-MEE-Baby” has a funk-spiked R&B vibe from the outset and the sleepy behind the beat groove the songs hits out of the chute keeps a steady pace. The opening instrumental doesn’t give newcomers any reason to think Robert Starks and his band will have first class vocals but this track will make believers of them. The vocal explores a wide emotive range further underlying its R&B roots but the bass line and drumming give it unmistakable funk swagger.
Starks and his band mates never bite off more than can chew however. “Text-MEE-Baby” has a more boisterous sound than the instrumental, but tastefulness is a key attribute of what makes Robert Starks and the Diamondtones Dance Band so effective. They know what they leave out is as important, if not more, than they leave in and deliver these two singles with all the style and skill you expect from seasoned talents.
Let’s hope we’ll be hearing more from Starks and his cohorts in the near future; they are writing and recording music with unshakable modern relevance and filled with reverberating echoes of the past. “21st Century Grandma” and “Text-MEE-Baby” are among the best R&B influenced singles I’ve heard in recent memory. They are played with palpable feeling, skill, and a thorough knowledge of their chosen style that’s second to none. Robert Starks and The Diamondtones Dance Band are carving out their own niche in music history.