Album Review: Love’s Crushing Diamond by Mutual Benefit


By: Sten Golds
Love’s Crushing Diamond
Mutual Benefit
Other Music Recording Company
3 December, 2013

Mutual Benefit’s Love’s Crushing Diamond, released by Jordan Lee under the moniker Mutual Benefit serves as an empty boxcar eager to carry. Inside the boxcar there is nothing however; everything that is provided can be summed up as the open door that allows you to see outside, and all you can do is take in the view. Love’s Crushing Diamond then carries you through a beautiful landscape of optimism and most prominent, love.

The album’s sound is calm and analog with charmingly soft vocals from Jordan Lee. The lyrics “I clear my mind of joy and sorrow/ river doesn’t know tomorrow/ it rolls along with such simplicity” open the album as well as provide Jordan Lee’s view on how simple life would be if you chose not to care. However as Love’s Crushing Diamond progresses, it presents the case for the importance of caring.

The next song “Strong River,” sets the scene of Lee taking his usual walk and calling to quit his job. His actions lead his thoughts to get louder and his need to find a place where he belongs to grow stronger. As time passes for Lee he recognizes “we weren’t made to be this way/ we weren’t made to be afraid”. Here the sense of optimism in Love’s Crushing Diamond comes through; the feeling of being human and having the ability to take control and lead your own way emanates as the song finishes.

Perhaps the best song on Love’s Crushing Diamond is “Advanced Falconry”, which feels gorgeously like the long lost love letter that contains the power to transport you back to the moment you wrote it. The song provides a reminder that love is still the most beautiful and captivating emotion a person can feel. Lee’s enchantment is presented alongside strumming of a banjo and playing of a violin that help the listener imagine the music he mentally associates with the moments the subject of the song provided to him.

The admiration of this emotion continues over the second half of the album. In “’Let’s Play’/Statue of a Man” Lee guides you through examples of the ubiquity of love. Where he then delivers his most important message “there’s always love/ when you think there’s none to give.” In a pessimistic world, Lee seems to be holding a branch of optimism as the rest flows over and past him, and I hope that one day we may all follow Lee onto that branch.

Love’s Crushing Diamond is not a groundbreaking album that’s influence will be heard for years to come, and in no way does it try to be. The album is a short, barely over 30 minutes, and emotional listen that manages to hit you with a few ideas that everyone could benefit from hearing. All I can do is recommend you listen and try to take its message of not being afraid to feel to heart.

Recommended if you like: Sufjan Stevens, Animal Collective

Album Highlights: Advanced Falconry, Golden Wake

Track List:

Strong River

Golden Wake

Advanced Falconry

That Light That’s Blinding

“Let’s Play” / Statue of a Man

C. L. Rosarian

Strong Swimmer

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