- 02 Oct 18
Exquisite collection of dreamy alt-folk.
If Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue and Sufjan Stevens somehow conspired to have a child, and said boy grew up to be a songwriter-singer, combining the best elements of his fathers’ voices, what might that sound like? You don’t really have to imagine, because Mutual Benefit – the moniker of Ohio-born, New York-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Jordan Lee – has a voice that rings just like that hypothetical offspring might sound... and it’s pretty darn lovely.
The inspiration for the title came while watching a New England storm, as Lee noted the pregnant pause amid the lightning and the thunder, and began to wonder if we are currently living in that “in-between time.” As a result, storms and weather fronts feature heavily throughout the album, from aching opener ‘Written In Lightning’ to the closing beauty of ‘Thunder Follows’, where he describes the clap of thunder as a “warning shot, a bomb dropped elsewhere.” In between comes the dream-like ‘Storm Cellar Heart’; the hypnotic ‘Nightingale Sing’; the pin-droppingly pristine ‘No Dominion’, a reference to Dylan Thomas’ defiant poem; and the experimental jazz-folk of ‘Waves, Breaking’.
‘New History’ is a gorgeous folky duet with Yohuna’s Johanne Swanson, while ‘Come To Pass’ is simply stunning. With chord progressions seemingly welded to the tear ducts, Lee intones, “I’ve been waiting for a long time / Seems like we’ve waited for a lifetime / But I think it’s better not to grieve for a fiction of how things used to be / ‘Cos I got a feeling it’ll never come around.”