(2018) Thunder Follows The Light

Mutual Benefit

... read moreHis third full-length set of bucolic fairydom, Thunder Follows the Light confirms Jordan Lee's status as a leading architect of musical escapism via his collaborative project Mutual Benefit. Cover art depicting light flares goes a long way in communicating the disarming, hypnotic nature of textures...

39′:02″ 10 Songs

1
Mutual Benefit
Written In Lightning
5:17
2
Mutual Benefit
New History
3:12
3
Mutual Benefit
Storm Cellar Heart
2:51
4
Mutual Benefit
Shedding Skin
4:49
5
Mutual Benefit
Come To Pass
2:42
6
Mutual Benefit
Waves, Breaking
5:02
7
Mutual Benefit
No Dominion
2:49
8
Mutual Benefit
Mountain's Shadow
3:17
9
Mutual Benefit
Nightingale Sing
4:18
10
Mutual Benefit
Thunder Follows
4:45
Released 21 September 2018, 2018 Mutual Benefit under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd/[PIAS]

Review

His third full-length set of bucolic fairydom, Thunder Follows the Light confirms Jordan Lee's status as a leading architect of musical escapism via his collaborative project Mutual Benefit. Cover art depicting light flares goes a long way in communicating the disarming, hypnotic nature of textures that combine instruments such as synthesizers, banjo, bass clarinet, and field recordings, just for starters. Inspired by literal storms and figurative ones -- namely, the effects of corporate greed and the 2016 presidential election -- there is an acknowledgment of harm within the album's beauty. Lyrics foretell trouble right from the opening track with phrases like "The winds have been rising/Torrid and frightening" and "There's a changing horizon/That is written in lightning." Acoustic guitar, banjo, and strings eventually gather strength with percussion, vocal harmonies, blended electronics, and lusher arrangements. Like most of the album, its woven timbres and rhythms are constructed in a way that would be dazzling if not so subdued. Later, "Storm Cellar Heart" relies more on piano and saxophone, and "Waves, Breaking" incorporates shakers, tape scratches, and feedback, or facsimiles thereof. Under the guidance of Lee's gentle melodies and calming voice, all the songs mesh together, though, only slightly shifting, like an afternoon under a late-summer sun. This type of imagery is suggested in song titles and lyrics, too, which include references to waking cicadas, toadstools, mountaintops, and "Blossoms growing on a dogwood tree" ("Shedding Skin"). The closer, "Thunder Follows," while cautionary, sees signs of strength and renewal in the wake of a storm. The album's dozen or so guests include several prior collaborators such as violinist Jake Falby and guitarist Mike Clifford as well as newcomers like saxophonist Gabriel Birnbaum (Wilder Maker) and drummer Felix Walworth (Told Slant). It's probably best not to deconstruct the recording too much, though, or risk interrupting the reverie. ~ Marcy Donelson