Let me warn you in advance … this album will be of no use to you as a gym companion, it won’t be that special running album needed to get you through those last five miles and most importantly it won’t be on any of those quarterly high tempo’d dance albums that major records tediously release.
However, and this is the important part, Mutual Benefit’s ‘Love’s Crushing Diamond‘ is a beautiful, fragile collection of tracks that showcase a true musician at work. Wonderful vocals and delicate strings that combine to deliver heart warming melodies. An album for the more horizontal of us, an album that is simply in no rush. It’s a homage to ‘taking ones time’.
Mutual Benefit is actually Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist Jordan Lee, and a collection of musicians he has gathered together during the recording of the album. We’re told that the line-up is not ‘set in stone’ and that when touring he uses those available. A neat idea and on this evidence it works.
‘Love’s Crushing Diamond‘ has been critically acclaimed by one and all. It’s a short LP, containing a mere 7 tracks, and one could suggest it is a generous EP instead. Either way, it’s the content that is the important factor here. Opening track “Strong River” begins with an assortment of wind-chimes and a cluttering of other percussion before Lee’s warbling vocals take over. It leads beautifully into the albums star track ‘Golden Wake’, which is probably the most up-tempo on the LP. It’s well crafted and the strings compliment the vocals and other instrumentation perfectly.
From that point each track flows quite seamlessly into the next. ‘Advanced Falconry’ has a beautiful warmth to it. The songs simplicity is breathtaking. It’s so under-produced you start to wonder if they turned up, recorded it and then went out to locate more wind-chimes. In fact, the core of the album is its simplicity. There seems no reason to over complicate these songs with layers of unnecessary instruments. Its charm is its modesty.
‘C L Rosarian’ lacks the conviction of the other tracks. Actually maybe ‘conviction’ is too harsh a word to use when discussing an album that never increases ones heartbeat past a gentle thud. It’s an average song in a collection of heart-warming melodies (that’s better).
How this album comes across as a live set remains to be seen. However, in its current format it works well and should be applauded for it’s beauty.
Download: Advanced Falconry, Golden Wake
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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