Diners: “Always Room”

Album cover by Nick Shively

It’s a rocket pop on a summer day. It’s laying in the sun poolside. It’s friendships made over pinky swears and broken over movie star crushes. It’s the furthest point from school starting up again in the Fall. The latest release from Diners is all of that and more. Pop rocks and flip flops and homemade cutoffs from last year’s jeans.

“Always Room” kicks off with the introductory track “Wide Range”, immediately sending the listener into a sea of summertime memories. Nostalgic, both lyrically and instrumentally, Diners has come a long way toward solidifying their sound in the two years since their last full length, Throw Me a Ten. The latest from the band demonstrates stronger cohesion and a greater sense of singular band identity that suggests maturation on the part of the artists involved. But, most importantly, this sense of “maturation” comes without the loss of the youthful sentimentality or the garage intimacy that help Diners find their place as a band of worth.

By “Hangout with You” (the second track), the saccharine dreampop should have you lulled into a warm and mellow place you thought long buried somewhere with old yearbooks and friendship bracelets. Many of the songs found on “Always Room” address that sense of trying to hold onto those parts of ourselves we let go of as we age: first love, the unencumbered feeling of childhood, the interconnectedness of family and community that you take for granted until it starts to slip away.

The song “Citrus” repeats the line, “Don’t want to let it get away.” I think that it a pretty accurate sentiment for the album overall. Hold onto your innocence, your sense of adventure, and, perhaps most importantly, your sense of wonder. Hold on to love. The fun, affectionate songs found on “Always Room” can help you strengthen that connection.

For this album, Diners returned to Audioconfusion in Mesa. The recording really captures the spirit of the band while adding all those fluid layers of sound and construction that elevate the tracks to that euphonious level of radio-ready. Unless you’ve trained in sound engineering or you’re just some amazing autodidact in the studio setting, consider hiring a professional to record your album to bring out the best sound from each song on your album. Diners knows this and we couldn’t be happier with the end result. Additionally, the band (Tyler, Tristan, Robert, and Christian) invited a host of local talent into the studio to help with the recording including Kristina Moore (Where are all the Buffalo?), Erin Caldwell (Dogbreth), Logan Greene (Diet Pop Records) and lots more.

Stand out tracks, for me, include the shifting “My House // How Things Go” and “Good Zone”, the first single from the album, but this really is a standout album of the year for me. Listen to it beginning to end, preferably with some sugary, frozen concoction in your hand (like a Slurpee) and pretend you’re still too young to care about calories or sunburns. Listen/purchase here.