I’ll blog the news instead that Love’s Crushing Diamond by Mutual Benefit is the best record I’ve heard all year.
I don’t usually look for music tips from Pitchfork Media – I’m too frequently irritated by their show-off reviewers and their keenness to demonstrate their hipster credentials.
But I’m eternally grateful to Ian Cohen’s enthusiastic write-up for bringing to my attention this instantly appealing and spontaneously joyful release.
Cohen is right to draw comparisons to Devendra Banhart (and other freak folksters) and to note that these lovely songs are about as un-macho and quietly endearing as you can get.
The brains behind the band is Jordan Lee but he clearly has some talented friends to help realise his dreams – Jake Falby on violin is one and singers Virginia de la Pozas, Cory Siegler and Julie Byrne are among the others.
My own reaction on first hearing was akin to the love I felt when I first listened to Devendra’s ‘Rejoicing The Hands….’ Like that record, it seems to have an intuitive grasp of how to charm without being merely wimpy or cute.
There are only seven songs beginning with Strong River and ending with Strong Swimmer but thus is enough to bring half an hour’s worth of pure magic.
Like the river Jordan sings of, the tracks “roll and with such simplicity” and ooze with such sincerity that you wonder why there are not more bands prepared to take to the waters with this same peaceable spirit.
The centrepiece of the album is Advanced Falconry , a open-ended love song that is so gorgeous, it is guaranteed to melt even the hardest of hard hearts. Statue Of A Man maintains the emotional high challenging cynics to suck on lines like “there’s always love, when you think there’s none to give”.
If you Google Mutual Benefit Group, you will get a link to an insurance company but for all your future investment needs you should click elsewhere on the band’s Bandcamp page where you will find the earthly delights of Love’s Crushing Diamond as well as other preciousness.
If these guys aren’t destined for greatness I’ll eat my hat while sulking on some nearby rooftop.
- Advanced Falconry – Mutual Benefit (surfingsaxophone.com)
- Stream Mutual Benefit Love’s Crushing Diamond (stereogum.com)
- Mutual Benefit: Making Freak-Folk Fun Again (including a Freak-Folk playlist) (lifesawhile.wordpress.com)