Mutual Benefit is Jordan Lee’s self-reflexive solo indie-pop project, and Skip a Sinking Stone is his second record. The album can be thematically divided into 2 parts: 1 nomadic, 1 grounded, but both presenting their own problems. Jordan gets it all accross with sensitive arrangements, strings, and his own plaintive vocals. On Transgressive.
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Mutual Benefit (aka Jordan Lee) got thrust kicking and screaming into the mainstream when his previous album 'Love's Crushing Diamond' became the first Bandcamp only release to be awarded Pitchfork's Best New Music. Although a fine album, it was hard for it to live up to such hype - I mean what was it they saw that justified such excitement?
Well this follow up carries along in a similar vein to the first record is that it is a kind of watercolour take on Sufjan-lite. 'Closer Still' has watery picked acoustics and sweet vocals that just lack a certain something to lift hem up to Sufjan levels. A lot of Mutual Benefit's music sounds kind of like a waterfall glistening against a summer sky, 'Last Dreamers' has beautiful strings which elevate the already gorgeous melody towards 'classic' status. It has that same kind of campfire singalong appeal that evokes so much of Sufjan's music but this is somewhere else entirely - nods to Laurel Canyon abounds - just a suggestion of Crosby Stills and Nash.
Mutual Benefit's music never rushes, there are many drifty string interludes that you need to get through before you can enjoy the fingerpicking and the carefully thought out songs. Certainly all of this will appeal to fans of Iron and Wine and Mount Eerie but there's something else at work here. It's otherworldly and evocative but kind of out of reach. I want to listen whilst lying down in a field.
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- Skip a Sinking Stone by Mutual Benefit
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