Mutual Benefit – Love’s Crushing Diamond

written by: December 11, 2013
Cover-art-for-Loves-Crushing-Diamond-by-Mutual-Benefit Release Date: December 3, 2013


Every so often, an album will surface that reignites an otherwise stale discourse of music, offering a vivid portrayal of how an album is supposed to be constructed.

Such is the case with Love’s Crushing Diamond, the elegantly crafted EP from Mutual Benefit—otherwise known as Jordan Lee. Charged with a natural buoyancy and graceful splendor, the seven-track work is both intricate and beautifully simple.

Marked by rhapsodic harps and calming orchestral sweeps, Love’s Crushing Diamond is accompanied by the soothing vocals of Lee, and each track drips with his gripping vulnerability.

His touching and often heartbreaking lyrics offer a an incredibly wistful portrayal of love and optimism.

The EP’s opening and closing tracks, “Strong River” and  “Strong Swimmer,” respectively, appropriately juxtapose one another as a bridge through the entire body of work. As “Strong River” opens Love with faint echoes of Lee’s voice, it gently lays the groundwork for the rest of the record.

Amid a symphony of haunting chimes, Lee’s voice softly sings, “I clear my mind of joy and sorrow/River doesn’t know tomorrow.” And in seamless transition, the song elegantly fades into “Golden Haze,” one of Love’s shining tracks. Backed by intricate violins and enchanting organs, the song ‘s strength lies in the fragility of the lyrics and Lee’s voice. With heartbreaking candor, he sings, “I could see a piece of what you broke in me/We weren’t made to be this way, we weren’t made to be afraid.” In a similar vein, “Advanced Falconry” plays on Lee’s heightened emotion, and over a sweeping piano and string medley, he gushes over the object of his affection.

The album’s ending track, “Strong Swimmer,” demonstrates the lyrical depth Lee is capable of.  A sweeping and emotional ode to someone—or something—that provided him an illusory sense of strength, the song hints that perhaps the strength was within him all along—like The Wizard of Oz in the form of a softly flowing ballad.

At only 30 minutes long, Love’s Crushing Diamond’s only disappointment is that it isn’t lengthier.

The emotion Lee invokes throughout the album leaves the listener in awe and naturally wanting to explore it further. Each track is exquisitely produced and finely tuned, and the lyrical maturity Lee displays is impressive for his mere 25 years of age.

This is the kind of work that foreshadows major things from a rising talent, and alludes to great promise. Delicately crafted and honestly delivered, Love’s Crushing Diamond quietly demands attention.

Mutual Benefit – Love’s Crushing Diamond tracklist:

  1. “Strong River”
  2. “Golden Wake”
  3. “Advanced Falconry”
  4. “That Light That’s Binding”
  5. “‘Let’s Play’/Statue of a Man”
  6. “C.L. Rosarian”
  7. “Strong Swimmer”