Last week, Brooklyn’s Mutual Benefit released their second LP, Skip A Sinking Stone via Mom+Pop records in the States, Spunk in Australia and New Zealand, and Transgressive Records everywhere else. In 2013, Mutual Benefit’s debut, Love’s Crushing Diamond was one of the most beautiful records of that year. Jordan Lee, the creative force behind Mutual Benefit, is back with what may be the most beautiful record of the year so far.
Skip a Sinking Stone starts with “Madrugada”, a gorgeous instrumental that sets the tone for the record quite nicely. It is followed up with “Skipping Stones”, featuring amazing harmonies and becomes this huge song at the end thanks to a perfect arrangement of strings and piano before fading back into just Lee’s voice. As the album’s tracks weave into one another with seamless transitions, we get taken to “Lost Dreamers”, a track about escaping, dreaming, and taking the long way home.
“Getting Gone” is another dreamy track. From its drumbeat, the song gives the feeling of nonstop, eternal motion, which is interrupted with the perfectly timed lyrics “we’re just rollin’ along” . “Not For Nothing” is another great example of Lee’s ability to paint a picture with his words, describing trees and power lines in the wind over a combination of strings and piano. “Nocturne” is a gorgeous instrumental interlude, starting with crickets chirping and features building strings.
The penultimate track, “Fire Escape”, is when the album gets a little weird, yet it’s a great track in that the strange effects on the instrumental add to the overall feeling of the record and creates something really special. The record comes to a close on the calming “The Hereafter”. The whole record can be defined by its perfect arrangements, Lee’s soothing voice and songwriting, and the beauty of understatement. “The Hereafter” ties everything together, using imagery and a feeling established throughout the record.
Skip A Sinking Stone is going to be considered one of the prettiest records of the year, no doubt about that. Jordan Lee’s Mutual Benefit has created a feeling and a record that feels so complete, with songs that seamlessly flow into and out of each other, lyrics evoking nature and movement in a calming and nostalgic manner. Everything on Skip A Sinking Stone seems like it was put together meticulously, the strings, the harmonies, even the space between songs. It is an album that was crafted without compromise, and it shows in its sheer beauty.
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