Release Date: Sep 25, 2012
Record label: Paracadute
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Indie Folk
Upon their emergence in the early 2000s, Los Angeles-based Lavender Diamond were immediately lumped into the "New Weird America" movement that included warped indie folkies like Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, and Vetiver, among many others. The band, based around the creative force of bandleader Becky Stark, wasn't quite all the way weird, folk, feral, or drugged-out enough to fit into the confines of the New Weird ghetto, but their achingly positive songs soared with childlike simplicity and a crushingly beautiful straightforwardness in Stark's lyrics and lush vocals. Maybe the nakedness of the songs weirded people out enough, and not offering enough of a context or a gimmick to fit in with the Sufjan Stevenses or Clap Your Hands Say Yeahs of that particular moment in time, Lavender Diamond were shuffled off to sit with the weird kids at the freak folk table.
If you ever thought Lavender Diamond would make a second record, Incorruptible Heart is probably not the one you would have expected. Their first, Imagine Our Love, came out in 2007; at shows around the time of their debut, Becky Stark, the band's lead singer and general aesthetic ringmaster, flounced around onstage in gauzy pink dresses, warbling about love and light and roses. When I saw the band play in 2006, even the (male, otherwise stoic) drummer sported pigtails.
The experience of listening to the second album from this LA folk pop group, led by Becky Stark, is akin to enjoying a particularly appetising dessert. It looks pretty and at first is sumptuous but gradually turns overpoweringly sickly.‘Incorruptible Heart’ is Lavender Diamond’s first album since 2007’s debut LP ‘Imagine Our Love.’ In the intervening years Stark has been incredibly busy writing music for soundtracks, comic books and, most notably, appearing both on record and on stage with The Decemberists. All these extra cultural excursions seem to have imbued the album with a real theatrical spirit.