Folk. A few years after the breakthrough success of Love’s Crushing Diamond, Mutual Benefit returns with another beautiful modern folk album. Trembling tenor voice and washes of textured, golden sound. The sound is delicate and organic. These guys could make a masterful ambient CD if they switched genres. The vocalist has much more room to express himself here than on Love’s Crushing Diamond, and I think he does a great job. In most songs, he’s marveling over a beautiful piece of nature or agonizing over a romance which is falling apart. Lyrics are simple but heartfelt. A favorite of 2016 so far. No FCCs.
1) “Madrugada” (1:54): Lovely twinkling ambient instrumental opener.
2) ** “Skipping Stones” (3:45): Song about the fear of falling in love. Simple lyrics with breathtaking instrumental interludes. Really lush. Flows into next track.
3) ** “Closer, Still” (2:10): Quick walk. Voice is a little more articulated.
4) *** “Lost Dreamers” (4:35): Strings, bells. Singer goes on a romantic midnight walk with a lover. Really dreamy, lovely.
5) ** “Getting Gone” (4:04): Great ambient rush fades into a straighter guitar rhythm. “The life that we had was a dream of my youth, too good to be true.” Instrumental finish.
6) *** “Not for Nothing” (3:17): Guitar/drum open. Much simpler than a typical Mutual Benefit track. Afraid of losing love. Piano is important here.
7) “Nocturne” (2:24): Midnight in the middle of a glade, crickets &c. Some strings, choral voices.
8) “Slow March” (2:52): Walking guitar. More pensive. Horns.
9) ** “Many Returns” (4:15): Dreamy distant synth with some nice violin touches. More of a minor key edge to this one.
10) “City Sirens” (1:45): Lots of strings. Careful beat.
11) * “Fire Escape” (3:41): Strumming, slightly distorted voice. Quiet. Singer is alone on a fire escape. Humming in the background.
12) “The Hereafter” (4:49): Plucking and piano in the beginning. Thoughtful, composed. Slow. Dreamy repeated chorus: “Skip a stone...across the pond…”