Just in time for Halloween, Canadian artist Diamond Rings released his dark and shadowy sophomore LP Free Dimensional last Tuesday, October 22. Songwriter, engineer, and producer of his own tracks, Diamond Rings is the project of Montreal native John O’Regan. Since kicking off his tour in support of Free Dimensional at Hollwood’s Bardot back in August (check out my review of the show), O’Regan has been busy crisscrossing North America, and it seems his hard work is paying off. Between his time on the road and his recent appearance on Letterman, the record is beginning to catch on like wildfire.

Free Dimensional is a practice in contradiction. Lyrics like “Hold me under water. Teach me how to breathe” and “All that I ever want is more, more of what I have never had” speckle lead single “I’m Just Me.” What’s more, the upbeat production betrays the darkness of the songs themselves. At 128 beats per minutes, lyrics pass by at such a rate that discerning their weight can be a challenge. Still, the tension in the chords of even his most buoyant tracks denotes an air of nail-biting anxiety.

Full of struggle, the theme of the ten track Free Dimensional is sexual identity. Diamond Rings broaches the topics of growing up gay “so afraid to love,” coming out, and living as an adult gay man with bravery and a necessary dose of audacity in the face of a largely divided American listening audience. It seems O’Regan recognizes the necessity of challenging societal norms in light of current political battles raging in the U.S. Curiously, many (if even the majority) of gay artists historically accepted by middle-America have been international artists: Freddie Mercury, Elton John, George Michael. Perhaps there’s something to this. Whatever the case, Diamond Rings is looking to carve his place in the American music market on the basis of his brutal honesty and catchy beats.

Album highlights include lead single “I’m Just Me,” “Runaway Love,” “All The Time,” and my personal favorite, “Day & Night.” Definitely check out Free Dimensional if you haven’t yet, and visit the official website for any and all things Diamond Rings.