My Brightest Diamond, White Mystery | Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

My Brightest Diamond, White Mystery Agenda All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Free Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Mon., June 30, 6:30 p.m. 2014

Since forming My Brightest Diamond in the mid-aughts, Shara Worden has gotten increasingly ambitious, putting her classical training to excellent use in fleet, sophisticated arrangements that wriggle, strut, and float around her crystalline voice. On her previous album, All Things Unwind, Worden worked with yMusic, a malleable New York chamber group that aims to erase the distance between contemporary classical and art-pop. For her forthcoming record, This Is My Hand (due September 16 from Asthmatic Kitty), she’s given the songs a serious rhythmic jolt—martial drumming opens the record’s first single, “Pressure,” and fuzzed-out postdisco grooves lend heat to “Lover Killer.” The tonal purity and formal precision of Worden’s singing might not seem like the most natural fit for such earthy music, but the contrast is often a source of productive tension. And sometimes, as on “I Am Not the Bad Guy,” she uses the power and energy of the instruments to push her voice in dramatic ways—she practically channels PJ Harvey as she sings about the distortions and volatility that lust visits upon a relationship. The new elements—forceful vocals and churning rhythms—complement the chamberlike delicacy that remains from the previous record, and the way Worden’s voice navigates this lush landscape is exquisite and original. —Peter Margasak

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