Album Review: Diamonds & Demons by Paul Maged

by thethreepennyguignol

Listen up: the world is broken and Paul Maged can’t take it anymore. At least that’s what his sophomore effort, Diamonds and Demons, will have you believing. As a New York based performer who has dabbled in both stand-up comedy and acting, Maged has always been a musician at heart. He studied music at the Boston Conservatory, attended the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York, and over the few years has honed his craft. His lyrics could be described as acidically wry, no doubt his style of stand-up comedy informed this, and there is nothing that he won’t point his machine gun songs at, whether it be spiritualism, terrorism, warfare, Wall Street, and mortality itself.

Diamonds and Demons finds Maged on typically aggressive form. Opener Look at Me is a stirring blast of bile against posers who have no substance. Propelled by the kind of guitar sound that Elvis Costello made popular, Look at Me is a monster of a mission statement. On Cause and Effect, he sings about a killing spree that is all down to God’s will. Sure, the man upstairs is a bit of an easy target these days, yet Maged palms him off as a comedic aside in his quest for world sanity. The title track takes up the mantle left by The Hold Steady, although with a shot of Red Bull instead of scotch. The excellent Blind Faith (which is probably the best song never featured on Scrubs) starts as a sombre piano ballad before morphing into a breezy riff-filled lament on society. Annastasia meanwhile shows that Maged isn’t too cool to talk about love and loss. A tricky ballad that come close to Ryan Adams territory as Maged paints a picture of disenfranchised outsiders and their struggles in the modern world.

Written while on vacation in Cape Cod, Paul Maged has poured his uniquely cynical world view into a of catchy pop rock songs that have you debating the big questions in your head as you sing your bloody heart out.

Quick Fire Review:

Out of Ten: 8

Best Tracks: Look at Me, Cause and Effect, Diamonds and Demons

Listen to If: you’re a fan of The Shins, and you like your themes and your music big.

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By Kevin Boyle