Album Review: Diners – DOMINO

Blue Broderick's latest album is power pop perfection, stuffed to the gills with irresistible hooks and infectious humour

Some albums challenge you, dragging your head in circles for days until you finally figure it out. Others are dopamine hits of instant gratification. And then there’s Diners’ DOMINO, a golden retriever in album form. If you don’t love it immediately, you might be a monster. No judgement.

Blue Broderick has been making great records under her Diners moniker since 2016, but DOMINO feels like all the lights coming on at once. That makes sense in context. Since 2022’s Four Wheels And The Truth, Broderick moved to LA and came out as transgender. None of this is directly referenced on DOMINO, but it’s not a stretch to listen to these 10 sparkling, effervescent songs and get a sense of liberation.

Diners - "Someday I'll Go Surfing" (Official Music Video)

Even without the press notes, power pop fans will immediately recognise Mo Troper’s fingerprints on DOMINO’s production. Broderick and Troper have a significant overlap, namely their ability to take melodies inherited from The Beatles, Badfinger and Big Star and stretch them into unusual shapes. Troper’s penchant for adding a hefty dose of noise to proceedings ramps up the volume without losing the fragile innocence that makes Diners such a joy.

None of DOMINO’s 10 tracks cross the three-minute mark, which says everything about Broderick’s framework. Like the best pop songwriters, she packs a ton of ideas into short running times, all of them winners. Opener ‘Working On My Dreams’ hops from glam stomp to 70s strut and back, while the title-track’s bright-eyed chorus effectively reflects its message of much-needed clarity.

Diners - "Working On My Dreams" (Official Music Video)

If highlights need to be picked, the one-two of ‘Someday I’ll Go Surfing’ and ‘The Power’ are right up there. The former is a charming hook-filled bop about turning simple dreams into a reality, the latter a decidedly cool ball of positivity with timeless ringing guitars.

There’s much comfort to be taken from DOMINO. Its bright outlook sits perfectly with a genre that has always embraced innocence and hope. But even more than that, its positive demeanour feels precious for how hard-earned it was. If this is what Blue Broderick sounds like when she’s in her right place, then there’s more than one reason to hope it lasts.

Release date: 18 August 2023
Label: Bar None Records
On tour: TBC