My Brightest Diamond | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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My Brightest Diamond

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One of the most arresting records I've heard this year is Bring Me the Workhorse (Asthmatic Kitty), the debut album from My Brightest Diamond--aka New Yorker Shara Worden, who pits her restrained, pitch-perfect singing against churning, magisterial rock grooves. She's studied opera and her range and intonation prove it, but she also understands rock just fine, and she can wail with the best of them; her vocals remind me of LA folkie Mia Doi Todd with a touch of Polly Jean Harvey's anthemic roar. On the sinister stomp "Freak Out" she veers from low-register growling to almost squeaky shouts, but that movement never feels like an empty gesture; she's tracing the emotional torpor of the song. Worden is also a terrific guitarist, laying down angular riffs and elongated single-note lines that pay little heed to rock convention, and her arrangements include some exquisite string parts. Her band opens for Sufjan Stevens at this show; she'll return to headline Schubas on November 11. a 7:30 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, sold out. A

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