Diane Coffee
Internet Arms
Apr 19, 2019

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The ever-evolving spectacle that is Diane Coffee -- the gender and genre-bending alter ego of Shaun Fleming -- returns with Internet Arms, a swan dive into a lush, digital glam wonderland.

Fleming’s path to stardom can be traced all the way back to his childhood days as a Disney voice actor, but for the past six years he’s explored the depths of his identity and channeled it outward in the form of the enigmatic and exuberant Diane Coffee.

In 2018, after performing as King Herod in the Lyric Opera’s critically-acclaimed run of Jesus Christ Superstar, Fleming emerged from the recording studio with Internet Arms. Born from the fear and uncertainty of a future in which humankind is both dependent on and poisoned by technology, the album finds Diane Coffee trapped in a digital world, enslaved by AI.

“Did you know the technology exists to take a photo of anyone you know and use it to create… well, let’s call it, ‘adult entertainment’?” Fleming asks. “And did you know that an estimated 70% of all online activity isn’t human? Where does that leave us? We don’t interact with each other anymore because we’re always online. Not to mention we can manifest any version of ourselves at the push of a button when we’re logged in, so when we encounter humans they’re not even real.”

Facing this existential crisis, Fleming’s anxieties became his muse as his writing explored the scenarios of this dystopian future: “It’s a personal study on how I feel about living with constant blurred lines of the self and the projected self.” This notion shaped the sound of Internet Arms as well, compelling Fleming to gravitate toward synths, electronic drums, and other futuristic sounds from the past and present to create his version of a digital landscape, as well as a digital version of himself.

“The songs are what have always dictated the sound. Working in the realm of clean, modern pop production has been an exhilarating change of pace. Diane Coffee now sounds like a digitization of its former self because I also feel trapped in this digital world,” Fleming explains.

This newly cybernated Diane Coffee is masterfully unveiled on album standouts “Not Ready to Go” and “Like a Child Does,” with both songs serving as vulnerable reflections on power and abuse. But whereas the former positions its chorus to soar high above a cityscape constructed of conduits and transistors, the driving pulse of the latter propels forward like a high-speed race through the surface streets of said city. Elsewhere, Diane Coffee’s sonic boundaries are pushed the furthest on “Lights Off,” a massive contemporary pop song that impressively showcases Fleming’s extraordinary vocal range.

As a whole, Internet Arms marks a significant new phase for Fleming, a testimony to the idea that Diane Coffee will endure as a fluid form of expression that continues to defy expectations of sound and genre.

Songs

  • 1
    Not Ready To Go (5:40)
  • 2
    Like A Child Does (3:37)
  • 3
    The Look (0:21)
  • 4
    Stuck In Your Saturday Night (3:16)
  • 5
    Simulation (4:26)
  • 6
    Internet Arms (4:07)
  • 7
    War (0:26)
  • 8
    Doubt (3:38)
  • 9
    Work It (3:13)
  • 10
    Good Luck (3:25)
  • 11
    Lights Off (3:11)
  • 12
    Turn On (0:10)
  • 13
    Company Man (4:02)

Reviews

"Internet Arms marks a significant new phase for Fleming, a testimony to the idea that Diane Coffee will endure as a fluid form of expression that continues to defy expectations of sound and genre."

Talkhouse

"Fleming’s incredible vocal skills set Diane Coffee apart from another million bands out there making fine electronica. This guy can handle anything from an Elvis growl to a Gwen Stefani yip, and sometimes in the same verse."

Soundblab

"Kaleidoscopic indie pop.. it’s full of gems, like The 1975-flavored pop-rock on “Like A Child Does,” the EDM-pop of “Lights Off,” and the synth ballad “Not Ready To Go.”"

Uproxx

"Shaun Fleming has shared his third project as Diane Coffee, Internet Arms, a heady exploration of the distinctions between online and authentic personas."

Paste

"Concealed behind the electronic pop soundtrack and Coffee’s harmonizing falsetto, lies the conflict addressed throughout Internet Arms, an internal conflict so often agitated by the freedom of personality technology increasingly permits."

FLOOD Magazine

"Internet Arms is theatrical and infectious, a work of fantastical, dystopian queer escapism about technology, state oppression, resistance, identity, and community."

them.

"Melodic, fun and polished to a mirror finish."

Soundblab

"Some outstanding keyboard work gives this one a gorgeous feel to a throwback age when music was much more innocent."

Soundblab

Videos

  • Not Ready To Go (6:20)
    Joe Baughman
  • Like A Child Does (3:38)
    Keven Winkler