Release Date: Oct 18, 2011
Record label: Asthmatic Kitty
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Dream Pop
My first introduction to the powerful vocals of Shara Worden came courtesy of her muscular and seething turn as The Queen in The Decemberists’ prog-opera concept album The Hazards of Love. On All Things Will Unwind, Worden taps into her classical roots and creates a soundscape of symphonic bliss. Opener “We Added It Up” is a wispy, Amelie-esque track with trilling flutes and “Escape Routes” has almost a Motown backbeat with flashes of weird synthesized brilliance.
Beginning with 2006’s hauntingly beautiful Bring Me the Workhorse and continuing with the ambitiously orchestrated A Thousand Shark’s Teeth two years later, My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden offers her most complex and fully realized work yet with All Things Will Unwind. In collaborating with the acclaimed yMusic chamber ensemble, a surprisingly natural partnership is born, as the group lends textured orchestral flourishes -- whimsical woodwind trills, majestic horns, gamelan-esque percussion -- that punctuate and elevate Worden’s soaring, operatically trained vocals. The record feels cinematic; each track has a singular sense of drama, conjuring the poignancy of Antony and the Johnsons, passion of Edith Piaf, and eclecticism of Regina Spektor, flowing together into a lush, stirring study in art pop.
Eleven Theses On All Things Will Unwind by My Brightest Diamond1 “I feel on edge all my days in the sun, thank God.” (R.B. Kitaj). One. “Love binds the world.” This unfathomable thought. However, as Love binds the world (it’s possible), the world does not bind in love. Herbert McCabe ….
Shara Worden was right to rechristen herself as My Brightest Diamond. She has a gorgeous voice that sparkles when she sings. This is especially true on her latest album, All Things Will Unwind. The operatically trained vocalist gracefully moves from note to note in an artful manner. It’s not ….
For her third full-length album, My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) has taken the yMusic chamber orchestra ensemble under her wing and furnished them with an album’s worth of material to dress. The revered collective have previously worked with slightly-higher-up-in-the-indie-hierarchy artists such as Bon Iver and Anthony & The Johnsons and lend much to Worden’s creations. Worden has a playful turn of phrase - not dissimilar to Mary Lorson at her best – and buoys it with theatrics, akin to that of Amanda Palmer.
Look at all the arrows in Shara Worden’s quiver. There’s no doubt she’s a member of the music community’s upper echelon—or at least has a spot on the guest list. She has collaboration credits and co-signs from David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon, Bryce Dessner (The National), The Decemberists, even performance artist Laurie Anderson.
Shara Worden's output as My Brightest Diamond is largely unclassifiable, a designation that's favorable in theory but can also be deeply stunting. For years, Worden has drifted between genres and tones (assimilating bits of the opera, classical, indie rock, folk, and experimental canons), letting her vocals act as the lone narrative thread and defining principle. These songs were hers because she was the only person who could sing them, and that felt like enough.
Besides being the brain behind My Brightest Diamond, Shara Worden has built herself some pretty serious art pop credentials. She’s fronted her own band, played in Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoisemakers, guested with The Decemberists and The National, dressed up in extravagant, theatrical costume, and collaborated with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, to name a few. It’s not surprising, then, that Worden’s guitar pop is taken to a new level of dramatic eccentricity on All Things Will Unwind, her latest LP, which sees her working with yMusic (a six-piece chamber group whose bio includes this impressive line of collaborators: Bjork, Peter Gabriel, Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Grizzly Bear, Yo-Yo Ma, The New York Philharmonic, and David Byrne).
Shara Worden's rangy voice is clearly beautiful, but what's striking is the sheer power it possesses. Say what you will about the Decemberists' rock opera, The Hazards of Love, but Worden's turn on that album as the evil queen is inspired. She can be both sinister and utterly graceful at the same time, and her 2006 debut Bring Me the Workhorse showed that dichotomy well.
Initially wandering onto the radar in 2005 with her contributions to Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois and subsequent tour support slots, Shara Worden has presented an idiosyncratic musical character in her solo work. A marriage of the naïve and the sinister has always permeated her music - Take ‘Disappear’ from her debut full-length; fairytale tinkling above a bleak, intimidating drum track, while an innocent child’s croon carries pitch black lyrics. Now, on her third album proper, All Things Will Unwind, this dramatic range is pushed even further.
REAL ESTATE “Days” (Domino). Bucolic vibes permeate “Days,” the second Real Estate album, as mindful of nature as any album this side of an ocean-sounds compilation. “Around the fields we’d run, with love for everyone,” Martin Courtney sings on “Easy,” the album opener. On .
All Things Will Unwind, the third studio album by My Brightest Diamond, bears the marks of a true blue perfectionist. Shara Worden, the multi-instrumentalist mastermind behind MBD and former touring member of Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoisemakers band, applies a bit of sandpaper to the lengthy and occasionally meandering excursions of her past two records, winding up with an exquisitely tight and gorgeously detailed orchestral-bent indie record.At its best, All Things plays like a Wonka-esque guided tour through a multicolored landscape of every-flavored timbres. Most songs have a dozen or more instruments flourishing, seamlessly, in and out of the picture.