Last year, Mutual Benefit's sophomore album Skip A Sinking Stone was released to well-deserved acclaim. Now, in collaboration with the Sounds Delicious vinyl-only subscription series, Jordan Lee & the merry musicians of Mutual Benefit serve up a full cover album of Vashti Bunyan's semi-obscure folk classic: "Just Another Diamond Day".
Turntable Kitchen aims to pair musicians (and music) with different culinary treats and artistic cocktails, but even without the extra features, Mutual Benefit's new album is worth the reasonable price-tag on music alone.
Fans of the band will immediately recognize complex and dense arrangements, strung together by Lee's intimate warble. Bunyan's lyrics suit the mystical vibes of Mutual Benefit's original songwriting, but album opener and (nearly) title track "Diamond Day" sound right at home in the cannon of album openers "Strong River" & "Madrugada." Where Just Another Diamond Day stands apart from previous Mutual Benefit records is in a sense of constraint not previously present in the band's work. The pastoral lushness comes in the form of small movements, as opposed to wide open words: "just another blade of grass," the opening song fixates on the smallness of the world, but then again, hails it as "just another diamond day."
Bunyan's songs, through Mutual Benefit, seem to suggest finding this beauty in the smallness of things is well worth the bend over to take a closer look and a longer glance. "Jog Along Bess" gives Lee a chance to channel some of the weird computer music origins of his earliest work, and "Where I Like to Stand" sounds like a spiritual successor to "Advanced Falconry."
What is the most impressive about Just Another Diamond Day is how well it fits in place as Mutual Benefit's third album. Subscriptions are still available on Turntable Kitchen's website through July.