The Los Angeles darlings of Lavender Diamond make for an unlikely Matador signing with only the most modest hints at appeal beyond their regional acclaim. Independently released last year, their Calvary of Light EP has been given broader re-release by the label to arouse interest in their forthcoming debut. It is hardly the most auspicious introduction. Marked by the humble hooks and creative hesitancy all too common among the studio efforts of so many struggling bands, the EP strolls through four tracks in an amiable albeit humdrum stride. That affably unhurried spirit seems earnest enough and likely accounts for a good deal of the swooning sway the band has over audiences at home. Vocalist Beck Stark is unquestionably crush-worthy with a voice of incredible range. Regrettably she seems unable to back it up with any body and rarely overcomes a wispy fragility. Opener “You Broke My Heart” succeeds anyway with its recurring crescendos coming in on cue for a politely uplifting anthem. As a waltzing ballad arriving decades too late for its era, “Please” also proves understatedly strong. Nothing else fairs quite as well. Alternating between vaporous verses and saccharine sing-a-long choruses, “In Heaven There is No Heat” goes nowhere yet still seems inexplicably overjoyed to get there. “Rise in the Sprintime” layers orchestral pomp over stately twee but remains unpalatably simplistic. Ultimately that wide-eyed cheer and Starks’s brittle vocals get a bit bracing. May be leaving their Laurel Canyon leanings unleavened could have lead to something more substantial, but as it was (and is) Lavender Diamond’s debut doesn’t make much of an impact.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article