It may have been 30 years since the release of their debut record, “Shakespeare Alabama,” but Leicester, England pop-rockers Diesel Park West aren’t ready to hang up their instruments just yet. Having witnessed (and been a part of) the history of modern music through countless rhythmic touchstones – including the MTV years, the birth and death of corporate pop and the revitalization of rock and roll, just to name a few – they are in a unique position to comment with authority on what they’ve observed. And with their new record, “Let It Melt,” the band crafts a sound and atmosphere that could only come from firsthand knowledge and the ability to filter innumerable influences through a career of personal experiences.
“We’ve never lost the spark,” says singer-songwriter and guitarist John Butler. “We’ve never stopped writing, recording and gigging. We’ve never let the setbacks encroach on our creativity. We’ve only ever judged ourselves by the standard to which we are performing. And we’ve pushed on through.”
Diesel Park West has undergone some significant changes over the years, with their current roster including 3 members of their ‘80s lineup, the aforementioned Butler, singer-guitarist Rich Barton and bassist Geoff Beavan. They also added drummer Rob Morris to the fold 15 years ago. Since then, this iteration of the band has coalesced into a tight and familial collection of creativities and inspirations.
Due out September 13 via Palo Santo Records, “Let It Melt” is a raucous and rambling pop-rock journey through various decades and aesthetics, resulting in an album both of its time and anchored by the familiar musical movements of the past. And though this is technically the band’s 9th studio release, it feels a lot like a debut in terms of how they’ve approached their collective histories and melodic impulses.
“We spent a lot of time in the old days being pressured by our paymasters on the major labels to do this, don’t do that,” explains Butler. “This album is simply made up of new songs that we like to play and more to the point, that we like to listen to. It’s almost as if we had to do nine albums to get to this starting point. And I’m not saying that in a flippant way. There’s a deep seam of truth in that statement.”
For their new single, “Pictures in the Hall,” the band evokes the spirits of artists such as The Kinks and Big Star, finding a way to envelope their audience in a bit of jangling pop theatricality – the kind that doesn’t fade way the second the track ends but stays with you, echoing around in your head for hours. The guitars feel muscular but don’t overshadow the underlying melody that shifts and adapts with every passing second. There’s definitely an English sensibility here, with a lyrical cadence drawing back to the mid-‘60s, reveling in a wash of euphoric rock arrangements supported by the confidence of a band who know where they’ve been and where they intend to go.