Review Summary: "Imagine Our Love" is a bit too repetitive, but it's melodies are stupendous and Becky Stark's vocals are beyond anything I've heard in the last 5 years. Beautiful work from a band with great potential. I'm curious what their sophomore album will bring.
Lavender Diamond is one hell of a cheery band. Even when they have melancholy lyrics (and they definitely do sometimes) it doesn't sound sad. Well, not overly sad. This record is a joy to listen to. You find yourself marveled at the simple yet beautiful arrangements. Becky Stark's extremely gorgeous voice is, of course, the band's best asset, reaching some ridiculously high notes, but not screwing up and cracking. Her vibrato is beyond spectacular. I think it's one of the best voices in music today. No doubt. Their only downfall, however, is that their lyrics are far too repetitive. Some times, (especially on Oh No, Open You Heart, and Like an Arrow) the entire lyrics of the song seem like one piece of another song. They're well written bits, but all they are are bits.
On that note, here is my track by track:
1) Oh No -
This song opens the record with a booming, pounding drum/piano line. This is a great, fun, exuberant song. And, like mentioned before, it contains their melancholy lyrics in a happy mood, with Becky singing "When will I love again"" over and over and over.... and over. Despite the far-too-choppy lyrics of this song, it is definitely one of the highlights. Note: the high-note sequence near the end. BLISS. B+
2) Garden Rose -
This is my favorite song on "Imagine Our Love." It's one of the rare non-repetitive numbers. Beautiful vocal work, as always, from Stark. Except this is where they are at their best. When she serenades us into the chorus with the high whisper-like note, and then topping it off with the "rose" of "garden rose." This song strikes me as genius. A+
3) Open Your Heart -
"Open Your Heart" has one of the best musical and vocal compositions on the album. However, the repetitiveness barely works in its favor. The "O o o o"s are cute at first, then they grow tedious. And her vocals aren't as brilliant as they could be, here. C
4) Side of the Lord -
I never truly cared for this song. But I do give it credit because of her voice and the bouncy percussion. I don't have much to say about this song. I don't like the lyrics ("I thought my mother was the lord / But how can that be when the lord is a man!") Thankfully, its under 3 minutes. I can bear that. C-
5) I'll Never Lie Again -
I really like this song. The music, the mood, the melody, the voice/serenade. It's completely believable, and mature. It reminds me of like... summer days laying in fresh-cut grass looking at placid skies with a friend. This is a good song for that, despite the sad lyrics (HA!) B+
6) Dance Until Tomorrow -
I have a slight problem with this song. While undoubtedly one of the finest songs here, it is just so long. And it's Lavender Diamond. 6.5 minutes of Lavender Diamond (one song) is a bit too much. But it's a happy song, for a change, with cheery vocals (beautiful falsetto.) But the length does get to me, considering there's not a humongous change in anything until about 5:30, when Stark soars to the ether on the musical scale again. A-
7) Like an Arrow -
My absolute least favorite song here. First of all, the opening instrumental sounds like something Fiona Apple might do. I love Fiona Apple a lot, but Lavender Diamond are not her. Second, the lyrics are the most repetitive they get. There must me 2 different lines in the entire song. It baffles me. Third, even the music is repetitive!!!! Ugh... Fourth, the guy sings in this one. He sings the harmony. I don't like this. It blots out Stark's vocals. You wouldn't want the most beautifully-voiced singing to your privately, with another guy down the hall singing the same song loudly and echoing. No. Just... ahhh. I skip this song each time. D-
8) My Shadow is a Monday -
Ahhh... thank you!!! This song is my second favorite on the album. A lot of people may think this is odd, considering I have just bashed their repetitiveness like crazy. But the repetitiveness works to the fullest on this song. Stark's voice is as beautiful here as it can be. Serenading us softly as she waves her voice over a QUIET choir-ish backing vocal. The music works perfectly. Another thing about her voice in this song, is that it is blues-toned and country-toned again (like on Garden Rose. Hm.... a sign") A+
9) Bring Me a Song -
I love the piano in this song. It's wonderful. That was instantly enough to keep me listening to this song. I also like the melody. And the non-falsetto Stark actually works here. If this song were a tad slower, it could be reminiscent of a slightly cheerier (ha!) Azure Ray song. I like this song. I do. A-
10) Here Comes One -
Another upbeat song. It seems this is where they falter most often. This is basically another Open Your Heart. In fact, I feel like it is an extension, based on the lyric (You opened your heart with your mind.) Stark sounds a bit like Inara George here. Not showcasing vocal extremes as she usually does, but she keeps her tone and her grasp on the song. I don't mind this one as much... B
11) Find a Way -
Calming down again... for this beautifully realized acoustic-based song. Again, low-vocaled Stark works very well. She sounds like a completely different person here, especially since this is juxtaposed next to "Here Comes One." But she returns to her sweet, innocent pitches in the chorus. The building to the end is superb. I really do like this song, it's a nice breather. I guess.... I don't know. I know what I'm saying. A-
12) When You Wake For Certain -
This song's opening sounds like it's from a different band. And it's a long one again. These are my only two problems with this song. Well, that, and that it's kind of boring for the first 3 minutes. Her voice is charming in this definite-closer, but I still prefer the other songs over this. This isn't bad, but it sounds like it's full potential wasn't realized. Around 3:51 you get the feeling that the song is heightening, and it is. Her voice goes high as the goodbye coos steer us out beautifully. B+
Well, that was a bit long.
I give this a 4 all in all. I think you'll understand.