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Imagine Our Love

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 8, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The debut from this LA-based group is a tour-de-force of gorgeous folk-pop melody and uplifting sentiment. Produced by Tom Monahan (Pernice Brothers, Devendra Banhart, Brightblack Morning Light), and featuring the incomparable soprano voice of Becky Stark, the album includes twelve new songs and original artwork by drummer and noted artist/cartoonist Ron Rege. The band's slightly tongue-in-cheek demands for world peace and harmony are subtly undercut by minor key modes and absurdist lyrics. The result is deeply entertaining and subversive. Limited edition chapbook, with two posters.

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"I’ll never stop a bullet/But a bullet might stop me/I’ll never drink the ocean/But the ocean might drink me," sings Becky Stark in a voice that partially floats and partially soars amidst Lavender Diamond’s acoustic slow-waltz. It’s a new day, Lavender Diamond might say, one where peace and love replace war (and irony). Despite the liner-note photo of Stark in the midst of stars and blue sky and nature’s wonders, the band sounds melancholic in spots, shading her vocals with subtlety, combining all the sunniness with a tiny touch of Elliott Smith--even if Stark sings things like "Oh I must be on the side of the Lord" without a trace of irony. The piano, acoustic guitar, and percussion vibe is perfect here, muted for "I’ll Never Lie Again" and bolder for "Oh No," which associates crummy weather with lovelessness, a sentiment that’s almost funny in such an upbeat, airy setting. --Andrew Bartlett
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 8, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B000OMD4FW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,041 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Ryono on May 24, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Lavender Diamond has hypnotized me. I'm under their spell. Becky Stark's voice (with its classical roots) is transporting and ethereal, delicate without sacrificing its potency and confidence. There are songs on this CD ("Garden Rose", "Like an Arrow") that could accompany meditation. Indeed, the songs FEEL like meditation. Cynicism and apathy, pass by. The album's themes range from the optimistic and hopeful to the melancholic and hesitant. I find myself relating to both sentiments with equal verve. "When will I love again?" Stark repeats in the heartwrenchingly challenging song "Oh No" that opens the album, and wondering when and how a broken heart will heal is certainly an idea that everyone can relate to during their lives. (This beginning of this song left me breathless. "What a way to begin an album!" is what I thought, immediately wanting to hear more.) Even if your heart is now whole, it's not hard to put yourself back in that place, just as when you listen to a love song, it's not hard to remember when you were in love. "Open Your Heart" isn't exactly a love song, but with its cheerful tone and playful strings, 'oh oh oh' refrains, and handclaps, it feels like it should be in the background while you run across a field holding hands with someone. Other reviews have compared their sound to singers from the 1960's and 70's, and that is definitely true, although that is not to downplay their unique style and execution. The messages of love, love lost, and hope in this album are unlike anything I've ever heard before, and I subscribe to all of them.

Postscript/anecdote: there's a bit of serendipity in play here as well. I saw a Lavender Diamond show advertised in a Portland alt-weekly newspaper, described there as "winsome folk-pop.
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Format: Audio CD
If you said that Lavender Diamond sounds like a sparkly, ubersweet little band who plays hopeful pop.... you'd be right.

Fortunately the Angeleno band aren't just restricted in that. Their debut album "Imagine Our Love" is G-rated chamberpop, sure. But it's wrapped in a warm blanket of exquisitely pretty instrumentation, beautiful vocals and a feeling of wistful hope.

Gentle drum and bells segue into an anthemic piano melody, with Becky Stark wistfully crooning, "Oh no, it's such a sad and grey day out/when will I love again?... Oh no, we are turning as we go/into a world of stone..." Not only is it a mournful cry for personal love, but apparently tackling the loveless world outside.

"Garden Rose," on the other hand, fully embraces the chamberfolk description -- weepy strings painted over a gentle acoustic guitar. "I'll never stop a bullet/but a bullet might stop me/I'll never drink the ocean/but the ocean might drink me..."

Then in an about-face, they go all chamberpop in the bouncy, chipper "Open Your Heart" ("Well the streets are low/when you have to go/where are you running to?"). The songs that follow tend to be somewhere in between -- gentle folk, wind-wispy pop, soaring delicate little ballads, and occasionally a thumpy little piano-rocker. The only real misfire is "Like An Arrow," an awkward tribal-thump pop song.

Normally I can only take a small amount of cheery, sunny happiness at once. So it's something of a tribute to "Imagine Our Love" that I can listen to the whole thing in one go -- it sounds like the crystalline little sister of Midlake.

It also staunchly avoids the typical trappings of pop-rock, like electric guitars and bass. Instead, we have some truly ethereal, weeping strings and trickling piano.
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Format: Audio CD
I was let down at first by the change in their sound since their EP, "Cavalry of Light." Cavalry of Light is full of the most beautiful and powerful melodies and it's only 4 songs, while "Imagine our Love" goes for a much more subtle sound. Her voice is still one hundred percent beautiful, and after a few listens you realize that although it's not really the same as their EP, it's good in its own right.

I DO hope that when they come out with another CD, they bring back some of the power/beauty of their EP's choruses.
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Format: Audio CD
Great folk-rock here folks. They are influences from Fairport Convention (Sandy Denny-era), Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, etc. Becky Stark has a great voice...though I think it's a stretch for anyone to compare her to the one of the greatest voices in human history, Shirley Collins.

Overall, this LP is very listenable all the way through. It brings to mind current folk-rock revivalists like Meg Baird and the Espers (not as good though). Regardless, it's quite solid and worthy of your time, effort, and purchase. CHEERS!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I spend hours on Amazon after my kids go to bed and Lost isn't on TV listening to free song snippets from bands I don't know. 99% aren't that good, to put it nicely. However, I LOVE THIS. It reminds me of Joan Baez at her best, which she wasn't for very long. I highly recommend giving this band a listen. You will get hooked - a definite diamond in the rough.
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