My Brightest Diamond returned with her third full album “All Things Will Unwind” and after beautiful orchestration and minimalist taut rock, this time we find a pure fusion of her previous works.
Opener “We Added It Up” is a beautiful acoustic led ditty with the vogue instrument of the moment bass Clarinet tooting along in the background. There’s also some wonderful vocal montages in the second half of the song. It’s a light opener which paves the way for “Reaching Through to the Other Side” which has some great flute and string work. Reminding me of some of the more sweeping work Shara has done before, her higher vocal register makes for some achingly pure moments. It’s interesting how one vocal note held over lots of other instruments can stir up so much emotion. “In the Beginning” again showcases the session musicians with some cute woodwind flurries. This is one of the less direct tracks on the album, taking the approach of a sweeping story in four minutes instead. It has several transitions and all of them are endearing and softly rounded. It’s an acoustic psychedelic jamboree.
“Escape Routes” shows us a new side to Shara’s music – a cheeky one! The cute guitar strums are high-pitched and playful and the string and wind arrangements, as they are to some extent throughout the whole album, are intricate but joyful. By extension, the cute transforms to the dramatic with the single “Be Brave” but unlike the sweeping soundscapes of her previous string work, this highlights the more bursting harshness of the arrangements on the album. It’s far more tightly woven even when the choruses burst into full life.
“She Does Not Brave The War” is a lullaby of sorts with enchanting plucks, shimmering prepared pianos and wallowing clarinets. It feels like you’re being tempted out to sea by a siren. In contrast “Ding Dang” is a short song full of clattering tuned percussive beats being scored over. It’s cute and pretty especially when the marimba is used. It breaks into a finale as the song builds up and is unique as it is fun to listen to. “There’s a Rat” has the best lyrics I’ve heard in a while. “There’s a rat in my kitchen and its eating my cheese!” There’s a slight tongue in cheek approach to the hill billy country with the execution of the song and Shara is trying to Kate Bush her vocals which don’t quite pull off at the same level but it’s still a fun and interesting track nonetheless. “High Low Middle” continues with the fast patter of cheeky uptempo numbers with electric organs and folksy drums. This diversion into the country Disney genre infects the whole album but nowhere is its jazzy hands momentum most apparent than here. “Everything is in Line” is another interesting track that’s a duet with DM Stith and they interplay perfectly together as the marimba and thumb piano play off each other in unison. It’s one of the more immediate tracks to get into. The album closes “I Have Never Loved Someone” which is based around a pump organ complete with a squeak cutely playing in the background throughout. It’s warm and glowing and a whimsy end to what is an album that straddles emotions throughout.
Reviewing any “My Brightest Diamond” work is tough because what I have thought of her work initially is always a lot less than what I feel about it say a year later. I find myself struggling with its tone. Some of it is too cute for its own good and it doesn’t sit well with the vocal delivery. When things are more subdued or dramatic it suddenly all clicks into place. I guess this is another album I’ll end up enjoying more and more over time, like her previous two. “A Thousand Sharks Teeth” failed to capture me on first listen yet now I regard it as one of my all time favs. I don’t think this rivals that albums status but I’m sure it will grow over time.