My Brightest Diamond: All Things Will Unwind (Asthmatic Kitty) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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My Brightest Diamond

All Things Will Unwind

Asthmatic Kitty

Oct 19, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

My Brightest Diamond, aka Shara Worden, is anything if not polarizing. Like Joanna Newsom or Björk, her operatic vocals are overwrought to the point of either eliciting eye rolls or rapturous accolades. This combined with her proclivity towards warped, chamber suite music that sounds like Technicolor Disney spiked with mescaline, and you have a textbook case of the “selective taste” artist. However, repeated listens of Unwind reveal her to be in a rarified echelon of songwriters, one embracing baroque accoutrements that could easily clutter, but instead embellish her songs magnificently.

The mélange of flute, cello, and spindly acoustic guitars on “In the Beginning” are initially off-putting, but when Worden pleads, “My only chance at this/I will take hold of it,” the song assumes both a high gravitas and devastating emotional impact, transcending the sum of its parts.

The jaunty “Escape Routes” finds Worden sounding eerily like freak-folk icon Vashti Bunyan, as she romantically pines, “Let’s close off all our escape routes/We can have it all tonight.” She’s miles from Bunyan’s folkish, ascetic ethos, but spiritually they certainly share an aesthetic kinship, a childlike whimsy coupled with a steadfast belief in the grand catharsis of artistic creation.

It’s on closing number “I Have Never Loved Someone” that Worden comes clean with her affection, devastatingly crooning, “If the rain won’t wash away all your aches and pains/I will find some other way to tell you you’re okay,” conjuring the romantic melodrama of kindred spirit Antony Hegarty. And like Hegarty, Worden plumbs the depths of emotional despair, but never wallows. Traversing life with wide-eyed self-awareness isn’t always comfortable, but My Brightest Diamond sublimate heartbreak into transcendent beauty. (

Author rating: 7/10

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