And she talks softly, sees through me, says something I can’t hear

Mutual_Benefit-3I’m struck by a number of disquieting thoughts as I make this post. Back in the day, most of the stuff I wrote about was what you’d broadly call Americana-based records – slow tempo, pensive, somewhat rootsy. If you had beards and/or played banjos, you were in, my friend.

Fast forward seven or eight years, and the preconditions for a plug on Partly Porpoise can now be said to centre on being either infectious and Latin-based (in some form or other) or straight up bonkers psychedelic. Along the way, there’ve been extended stays in the Welsh foothills, the sweatshops of German motorik and even the sticky nightclubs of late-sixties Addis.

I’m not fussed about the butterfly nature of my musical consciousness (actually, I’m long since resigned to the way my palate veers drunkenly from one thing to another, tend to go with it without complaint…). What bothers me, is the thought that I may well be missing great records that don’t happen to be in tune with my current tastes and manias. What else has been going on while I’ve been gazing loon-faced at this month’s pretty stones?

Fortunately, some records force themselves upon me no matter what else is going on…

Mutual Benefit

It’s a dumb name, right?

This alone is a decent reason for having missed this record when it came out last year but I can claim another reason could that I’ve heard no mention of this amongst my ear-to-the-ground twitter pals – I’m either very, very cool, or the opposite of very, very cool. Answers on a postcard…

According to their Wikipedia entry, Mutual Benefit centres loosely on the singer-songwriter talents of Boston musician Jordan Lee and have made a number of semi-official releases of their own, before Love’s Crushing Diamond, their official debut surfaced last October.

I’ve got to say, it’s just a beautiful, beautiful record. It’s full of delicate melodies nurtured carefully and at the same time carelessly, fragile little songs that blossom and go to seed over the course of five or six heady minutes. There are quivering keyboards, pastoral guitars, banjos (yes!) layer upon layer of random jingles and even the occasional jangle.

No freakbeat or Cumbia here…

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