Monday, October 14, 2013

Mutual Benefit - Love's Crushing Diamond (2013)

Earlier this year at FMLY Fest Brooklyn, I had the great pleasure to witness Mutual Benefit in action. I was transfixed and ultimately transformed - Jordan Lee's warm tenor enveloped me like a tender hug while his dreamy soundscapes transported me light years away from the crowded room at The Silent Barn. It was the type of experience I've always attributed to great music but rarely found myself feeling. When Mutual Benefit announced that several of those songs from that set would make their way onto a record soon out for release, I was ecstatic at the notion that I'd be able to relive that moment pretty much infinitely at my leisure. Fast forward months and the single release of the magical "Advanced Falconry" later and Love's Crushing Diamond was born.

Love's Crushing Diamond isn't just the culmination of years of musical ideas and collaborations, it's a rite of passage in the most unironic of ways; a life philosophy forged in the crucible of worthwhile experiences and put forth in the most accessible of ways. Featuring a remarkably similar sonic palette all throughout, Love's Crushing Diamond is a record that builds upon itself - each song seems an extension of the thoughts covered in the song before it as coherent in its narrative as it is in its textures. Unsurprisingly, it's a record that recalls itself especially in "Strong Swimmer", the cathartic release/album ender which references opener "Strong River". Perhaps due to its notable folk influences, the songwriting strikes a perfect balance between wondrous nature imagery and tales of personal growth.  

Love's Crushing Diamond is a record of selfless sincerity; raw and heartfelt but utterly life-affirming. Jordan Lee's dreamy folk pop styling are the perfect guise for the absolutely beautiful soul-searching and soul-bearing that occurs on the record. It's never overt, little lines here and there, that when combined form a little map to the album's earnest journey of pure feeling. To its benefit, Love's Crushing Diamond isn't trying to be a life-changing record, it's just the thoughts and sounds of Jordan Lee and friends artfully arranged with the purest of intentions and love of songcraft that resonates with the listener. Love's Crushing Diamond is a stunning masterpiece where it's labors of love are wildly apparent; elevating it from your standard pop record to one of astonishing beauty and worth. It's a record I know I'll return to over and over as will anyone lucky enough to get it in their ears. Hopefully that's as many people as humanly possible.

Listen to Mutual Benefit's Love's Crushing Diamond now:

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