By: Patrick McKenna, Staff Writer
Beauty is an adjective placed upon music that touches a fan. With that in mind, any challenged fanatic can make the argument that Lana Del Rey and Led Zeppelin hold equal levels of loveliness. However, some music thrown at a listener just screams undeniable beauty. Mutual Benefit’s debut LP, Love’s Crushing Diamond, has exactly this quality, and a little more. Released October 7th, this album demonstrates a clear direction that leads the band towards pastures of acclaim.
Mutual Benefit, made up of Jordan Lee and his mysterious magicians of seductive sound, reside in Boston, but sound right off the beaches of Indonesia. With a luscious lo-fi base, their style incorporates dreamy vocals, sporadic sound effects, and festive folk sweetness. Holding strong ties to Sung Tongs-esque Animal Collective, Bon Iver (in 2008), and even the violin-based experimental indie god Kishi Bashi, Mutual Benefit offers honest and intricate music that hits fans deep in their songful soul.
Love’s Crushing Diamond takes on this sound wholeheartedly, through Lee’s captivating cries of redemption and reclaiming the nature of love, which are paired with an astonishing instrumentation that experiments into wondrous grounds.
A mere seven songs, this album fits together sensible lyrics of conquering pain (taken from “Strong Swimmer,” “There’s always love/when you think there’s none to give”), fantastic, mesmerizing string arrangements, and transcendant instrumentation, all dropped into one magnificent record. Opening with a collage of uplifting string concoctions, “Strong River” guides this album through its continuously tranquil pace, while intertwining strong modern folk elements with experimental sounds of rhythmic relaxation. By “Advanced Falconry,” the album’s undisputed pinnacle, listeners have settled into an enlightening guide through an album’s artful harmonies and torrential downpour of exotic instrumentation.
Each song transitions into a new exploration of the role of meaningful relationships in life. Lyrics full of optimism for living significant lives are mixed perfectly with the band, creating a motivationally telling base for the thematic nature of Lee’s words.
This album is a remarkable validation of a growing bands potential for success, Love’s Crushing Diamond is as folky as orchestral musical journeys go. Done without compromising any artistic value, this album is sure to stake a longstanding spot on many a winter playlist.
Songs to groove to