on 15 December 2013
30 minutes of gorgeous music. Jordan Lee's soft, sincere voice float on top
of wind chimes, sweeping strings, piano and soothing percussion. If there
was a category for most beautiful album of the year, then this would be a
contender for the no.1 spot.
Standouts: Not much to omit, but "Golden wake", "Advanced falconry", "Let's
play/Statue of a man" and "Strong swimmer" are all fantastic.
Regarding categories; I am not sure what to call this. I see the critics have
a fondness for using baroque to describe it; baroque indie-pop, baroque-folk.
I think it has a resemblance to some of Sufjan Stevens music, you can call it
a brighter version of Sparklehorse or compare it to "Deserter's songs" by
Call it whatever you want, categories are never that important, glorious music is.
"Love's Crushing Diamond" is evidence that beautiful things often come in small packages. Some may complain about the fact that this album barely touches the 30 minute mark but Mutual Benefit's resident musical sage Jordan Lee manages to populate his music with such attention to the smallest detail and throughout avoids that complacency that is the enemy of so much new music. It terms of describing this album the label baroque folk has been applied and there are hints of artists like Grizzly Bear, Sufjan Stevens and Devendra Banhart throughout. But enough of "spot that influence", what about the music?
The album starts with a soundscape entitled "Strong River" which is all swirling synths and wind chimes leading to a joyous crescendo as Lee sings of clearing his mind of joy and sorrow, alluding to the relentless observation "that the river knows only to carry on". It is followed by two of the best tracks on the album firstly the lovely "Golden Wakes" has a fragility about it which as the nice review by Hilton Royale rightly observes does echo Mercury Rev of the "Deserters Songs" era. The same can be said of the sumptuous "Advanced Falconry" where there are hints of the melody from Badly Drawn Boy's "Silent Sigh" present. The quality does not let up throughout with the ghostly "That light, That's blinding" soaring into psychedelic realms, while the more conventional folk of "Lets play/statute of man" gently brings you back to earth with a sense of whimsy. The whole thing is rounded off with "C L Rosarian" and the albums longest track "Strong Swimmer" by which time this reviewers searching of the thesaurus for alternative words for "beautiful" has been exhausted. "Love's Crushing Diamond" is not a revolutionary album but it is one that signals the welcome arrival of Jordan Lee an intelligent and thoughtful Brooklyn-based indie folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who genuinely has new things to say and the music to express his yearning.
on 14 April 2014
Like a brilliant collection of short stories revolving around the bittersweet themes of love, loss and identity, this album is smooth and seamless. I love Sufjan Stevens...and this is up there with some of his best songs. The subtext of the lyrics is tragedy, I think, but the music is quite joyous, calm and meditative.