Among its energetic bursts of poppy, punkish energy, Diffuser's 2001 effort, Injury Loves Melody, still clung to vestiges of the band's noisier indie rock past. It made for a more ambitious record, but one also fraught with continuity errors -- Diffuser couldn't decide whether they wanted to go all-out with the pop screech. If that was the case, then frontman Tomas Costanza has finally made the decision and taken the pop plunge. He's the sole songwriter for Making the Grade, and has turned in a completely unthreatening, tinfoil-and-plastic batch of songs about girls and sarcasm, all amped to 11 and akin to the outsized modern rock of types like Lit and Goldfinger. Actually, with perfect pop-punk anthems like "Here's to You" and "New High" rushing past in a blur of pep, catch phrases, and giddy power chords, it's tempting to compare Diffuser to the ready-made mall punk of youngsters like Simple Plan. But Costanza's a little older than those guys, even if he doesn't want to admit it, and that age buffer means his band's decidedly young-skewed music is trashy and immediate, but not simply opportunistic. It's blatantly a product of the now, but Diffuser seems committed to the material, and that's important. The highlight is the unstoppable "Get It On"; it's another entry in the party train of pop songs dedicated to naughty crushes, a locomotive most recently restarted by Fountains of Wayne. Producer/mixer Mark Trombino also deserves mention here, as he's filled in Costanza's songwriting gaps with enormous guitar tones, slick harmonies, and the occasional string section. There's a slim chance Making the Grade will make much of an impact beyond its initial shelf life. But while it's switched on, feel free to bang on the steering wheel.
Performance CreditsDiffuser Primary Artist,Guitar,Electric Bass,Drums
Mark Trombino Drums
Mike Fitzmaurice scratching
Anthony Cangelosi Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Tomas Costanza Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Roland Jenster Piano,Accordion
Peter Schojan Bass,Vocals,Group Member
Dan Leo Drums,Vocals,Group Member
Technical CreditsSuzie Katayama String Arrangements
Mark Trombino Producer,Engineering
Peter Malkin Management
Enny Joo Art Direction
Anthony Cangelosi Composer,Art Direction
J.P. "Thunderbolt" Patterson Producer
Justin Stephens Cover Photo
Paul Alicata Business Consultant
Ken Fermaglich Booking
Tomas Costanza Composer
Nick Ferrara Legal Advisor
Debra Herman Management
Benno Nelson Video Director
Kelly Norris Sarno Executive Producer
Jeff Worob Legal Advisor
Jonna Sallinen Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This album is one of the best I've heard in awhile. If you've been a fan of the earlier Diffuser sound ('Injury Loves Melody'), 'Making the Grade' definitely still has all (if not better) of the ILM qualities: fantastic lyrics, great harmonies and masterful playing of instruments. Each song will get stuck in your head for days and you'll actually be glad to have it there. If you're into the Foo Fighters... Simple Plan.. and other type of pop rock bands, then you'll love Diffuser.
If you like the new more upbeat punk or melodical rock, you will love Diffsuer "Making the Grade". This CD is one you should buy if you like the above listed types. With songs like "New High", "Get It On" and "I Wonder" you will soon come to love this CD.
This is a great band and they need to keep on rocking.
I listen to all types of music. I love diffuser, it sounds to me like they really worked hard on this album- it came out shining like a diamond. I first heard them on the "Freaky Friday" soundtrack. I took a gamble and bought the cd on an impulse and I LOVE IT! I listen to it all the time on my way to and from school (a half an hour drive).