Two years after the world formally met her via her acclaimed debut, Bring Me the Workhorse, Brooklyn, NY’s My Brightest Diamond – spearheaded by Shara Worden – has been established as one of independent music’s most vibrant, creative and original voices. And with A Thousand Shark’s Teeth, Diamond’s incredible, breathtaking sophomore release, we are all instantly reminded once more of Shara Worden’s undeniable greatness.
Charming, playful, daring, foreboding, graceful, eclectic, exciting and visceral: these are all the first words that come to mind after a full listen through A Thousand Shark’s Teeth. It is a record that evokes and challenges, full of the sorts of melodies and arrangements that stay with you long after the album’s stopped playing. Combining songs that were written both before and after the release of Bring Me the Workhorse, and produced and arranged by Shara herself, A Thousand Shark’s Teeth reflects different times, feelings, musical genres and facets of one’s personality, all perfectly sewn together by the powerful thread that is Shara’s dynamic voice.
Moving across the country every few years, singer/songwriter/arranger, Shara honed an eclectic musical taste, a degree in opera, a penchant for costumes, and a few years tutelage under composer Padma Newsome (Clogs/The National). After playing in Sufjan Stevens’ band, My Brightest Diamond struck out on her own, releasing Bring Me the Workhorse to widespread praise. Months of touring commenced, leading Diamond to share the stage with artists such as Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists, The National, St. Vincent, Devotchka and more.
These diverse experiences helped shape A Thousand Shark’s Teeth. Originally meant to be a more classical, string quartet affair, the work slowly evolved and refined itself over a period of six years. The record, mixed by Husky Höskulds (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), was recorded in Berlin, Los Angeles and New York City, and features twenty different players all contributing little bits of musical magic. Influenced by artists such as Tricky, French composer Maurice Ravel and Tom Waits, in addition to the star exploration themes of Anslem Kiefer’s paintings, the imaginary landscapes of photographer Robert Parke Harrison, films by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and Alice in Wonderland, A Thousand Shark’s Teeth is a musical snowglobe that sparkles each time you touch it. The songs, whose themes broach intimacy, kisses by moonlight, laundry, lost friendship and more, marry vast instrumentation – marimbas, harps, clarinets, French horns, rabid guitars, vibraphones to name a few – to create an unequaled amalgamation of style and color. In simple terms: it’s beautiful, and there’s nothing else quite like it.
Opener and first single “Inside A Boy” is classic Diamond – slippery guitars meet with gorgeous strings and Shara’s powerhouse voice, which folds nicely into “Ice and the Storm,” perhaps one of the finest songs Shara Worden has ever written, a driving foot-stomp of a tune full of swirling vocals, metallic crackles and a stuttering beat. “Black and Costaud” borrows lyrics from a Ravel opera and sees Diamond full of dramatic flourish, while “From the Top of the World” vibrates with soulful swagger, showing off Shara’s tremendous guitar playing. “Apples” is Diamond at her most coy, her vocal line delivered with quite a flirtatious smile, “Like a Sieve” twists a Tricky sample upside down, and “Goodbye Forever” swells with a string-heavy chorus as Shara sings of things lost in a fire, literally and figuratively, exploring both beauty and danger in a shark’s kiss.
released 17 June 2008
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