Lavender Diamond & Charalambides Reviewed

on Sunday, 14 October 2007
Lavender Diamond - Imagine Our Love (Rough Trade)
Following much in the footsteps of what is already one of my favourite releases of this year, The Finches "Human Like A House" comes Lavender Diamond with what i believe is their debut album, Imagine our love, a collection of honey sweet country pop songs that stay just the right side of pop, instead of veering off into full on country. The vocals are a joy, taking on the almost yodled chorus of the very country Garden Rose, like Joanna Newsoms This Side of the Blue played at 10rpm, as glorious as you'd imagine. "i love how the garden grows/ and i love love the garden rose" soaring over sweeping violins and occasionally over excitable pianos. Open Your Heart is the albums obvious pop songs, pianos bashing out and hooks so instantly loveable you'd swear this was the work of the New Pornographers, the almost wordless chorus of "oh, oh oh" 's will instantly store itself in your subconscious mind, popping out at every possible opportunity.
Here Comes One carries the same instantaneous hooks, immediate and direct, near perfect pop. Side of the Lord and My Shadow is A Monday similarly are worthy of mention with their lovely Carpenters pop feel.
A worthy contender to the New Pornographers, Neko Case and Rilo Kiley.


Lavender Diamond - Open Your Heart MP3
Lavender Diamond - Oh No MP3
Lavender Diamond - You Broke My Heart MP3

Charalambides - Likeness (Kranky)
I first stumbled over the Charalambides in the late summer of 2002 care of an article in what i can only assume no longer printed Ptolemaic Terrascope, an amazing magazine, all psychadelic in appearance and in tiny print, so keen was it to stack as much information about all these amazing bands it knew of. In fact sitting here with the one copy that I had chance to get hold of, it is little more than a fanzine with a colour cover, much like the also missed Bees Knees, yet all the better for its simple appearance.
They described them Charalambides, pronounced Shar-a-lam-ba-deez as follows:
"Throughout the last decade, Tom and Christina Carter (occasionally augmented by Jason Bill) have created some of the most harrowing, mournful, sophisticated, soul-searching, and brutally honest music in the comfort of their home" the ensuing interview revealed a long history of albums released by obscure labels and featuring lengthy songs rotating around Christina's haunting vocal solo's whereby her voice became more of an instrument than a "voice" in the most traditional sense of the term.
However it was only last year that i began to seriously pay attention to them with the release of the excellent A Vintage Burden and now they're back with another fine release on the much revered Kranky label. They are clearly an acquired taste but certainly a rewarding one given the chance.


Charalambides - Do You See MP3