A rotating troupe of Lavender Diamond bandmates frequently post on the group's blog with such overjoyed sentiments as "Peace on Earth forever!" or "May love guide your path!" The Los Angeles act's new disc Imagine our Lovewill undoubtedly resonate with the anti-war crowd, but that's more due to the album's folksy beauty than its myriad victims, let-downs, and heartbreaks.
Autumn de Wilde
Lavender Diamond: peace, love, and snake eyes.
Lavender Diamond performs Saturday, May 19 at 9 p.m. Admission is $12; call 771-1421 or visit www. theindependentsf.com for more info.
Frontwoman Becky Stark may be the whispery-sweet leader of a baroque pop band, but her cherubic voice belies an aversion to romance. In Lavender Diamond's world, angels rear horns at cupids.
Twelve-string guitars, horns, piano, and string sections float in from on-high, with Stark positioned as the messenger of evil. On "Side of the Lord," she plays a discordant tramp, questioning her god's power of salvation. On "Open Your Heart," the singer promises if you "open your heart," she'll "tear it apart." And on the '80s-sounding "Oh No," she asks, "When will I love again?" The answer is never, as Stark prefers to roll snake eyes: "I can feel the world grow cold," she sings.
Despite the freak folk-ish acoustic arrangements, Lavender Diamond brings a fresh approach to the aesthetic, preferring to offer contrarian views over wispy mythical philosophy. On "Garden Rose," the group's sole other-worldly moment, Stark quickly reminds us that this is a world filled with bones, bullets, and drowning.
Imagine our Love is among the genre's most gorgeous albums this year; this comes despite the fact that, for each stab at happiness, clouds hover. Stark's siren's songs imagine love leaving you trapped and destroyed, and yet the lure of its seduction remains constant.
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