No Diamond in the rough

Though Neil Diamond is riding the goodwill created by Rick Rubin-produced 12 Songs, there is a track on his new album called Don't Go There, and the danger of over-emotive Heartlight-ness always looms.

While not quite as revealing and rewarding as its 2005 cousin, the intimate portrait that is the album Home Before Dark will certainly please fans of Rubin and Diamond's stark-yet-comfy acoustic direction. The compilation has been 14 months in the making, and the hard work is certainly evident.

The sprawling opener, If I Don't See You Again, has the right sprinkling of epic; Another Day (That Time Forgot) is a gorgeous duet with Natalie Maines.

It's hard to shake the feeling that the album sounds like the younger sibling of 12 Songs, but it is a warm, confident next step in Diamond's renaissance.

Best of all, there's not a seagull to be found. Maybe that is why this man, who has sold more than 120 million records worldwide over the course of his career, has crossed over from kitsch to cool.
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