Diamond Dogs brim with boozy joie de vivre on spectacular comeback album

Swedish rockers Diamond Dogs turn the amps up to 11 with a riotous glam-rock return, Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous

Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous cover art
(Image: © Wild Kingdom)

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Anyone doubting the restorative power of rock clearly hasn’t stumbled across Scandi legends Diamond Dogs. Formed in Katrineholm, Sweden around a nucleus of singer Sören ‘Sulo’ Karlsson and guitarist Anders ‘Boba’ Lindstrom, they blazed a shamelessly glitter-centric trail from 1994 debut Honked to their implosion in 2015 after tenth studio album Quitters & Complainers and the tragic death of longtime member Magic Gunnarsson. 

With an eclectic celebrity fan club including Captain Sensible, Wilko Johnson and, inevitably, Ian Hunter, their legend precedes them, and with Sulo’s rock’n’roll addiction clearly not sated by a solo stint with all-star backing band The Crunch (featuring punk alumni Terry Chimes, Dave Tregunna and Micky Geggus), the Dogs’ return was all but inevitable.

But not even the most ardent fan could have hoped for a comeback as spectacular as this 24-track double album brimming with the kind of boozy joie de vivre that comes only from getting the old band back together. ‘Dance with me and I’ll set you free, down on the wild side!’ Sulo hollers in opener Alright Brutus I’m On, kicking off a party that, thanks to returning producer Tomas Skogsberg, is a blast from start to finish. ‘

'There must be something wrong with me,’ the singer muses in a rollicking Everything’s Fine, while balls-out boogie Rocked, Wrecked, Robbed & Ruined is the kind of self-mythologising strut Primal Scream dream of making. Rocket Riochet teeters on the tightrope between Get It On and Walk On The Wild Side, while Queen Of The Milky Way would fit neatly on the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack.

They can do soulful, too. An introspective Get Me Out finds Sulo crooning: ‘Please excuse me if my life’s a mess,’ while the acoustic Toxic Daydream builds into a (satin) scarf-waving pub singalong. A mournful Sunday Haze even finds him addressing his life-long obsession: ‘The lonesome daydream, just to stay alive.’ 

Some might accuse Diamond Dogs of being locked in an eternal 1973, endlessly recycling the riffs of Mott, the Faces, T.Rex and Slade. However, their unshakeable spirit and dedication to their craft brooks no argument. As Sulo growls on Rock It & Roll It: ‘I know that we’re a hopeless dying breed/In the end you might find out there’s everything you need.’ Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous is an album for full-time dreamers everywhere.

Paul Moody is a writer whose work has appeared in the Classic Rock, NME, Time Out, Uncut, Arena and the Guardian. He is the co-author of The Search for the Perfect Pub and The Rough Pub Guide.