Toronto's John O'Regan has a way with modern pop, yet most of his songs under the Diamond Rings moniker are lovely throwbacks to the styles that dominated the 1980s. This lad plays both guitar and keyboards, and in the shows he's played in New York over the past few months, he's made a real impression, both with his glam makeup and strong stage presence. (Can't quite figure out the brittle, cheap-sounding drum machine.) But if the songs weren't as excellent as they are, I wouldn't be trumpeting his virtues.
On his website, O'Regan notes that there need not be a disconnect between popular music and lyrical honesty. I'd say that describes the line he walks beautifully on his debut, Special Affections. This particular track embraces the uncertainties of youth. "Don't you wait around for me to decide/What I want to grow up to be," he croons. "I'll just let you down if I do decide/That I just want to wait and see."
The video has more than a passing resemblance to a DIY Michael Jackson product. O'Regan and friends strut around a suburban neighborhood in slightly outlandish get-up, sporting enough eye shadow to scare away the locals. Eventually they arrive at a house party, of sorts, and suddenly it makes more sense. And the perfect retro touch appears in the closing scene: O'Regan pulls a cassette tape (!) out of his jacket pocket and pops it into a waiting tape deck to keep the party rolling.
On iTunes: Diamond Rings / "Wait and See"