|Asthmatic Kitty | mybrightestdiamond.bandcamp.com|
Ornate, majestic, intricate: a peacock for your ears.
· · ·"Be brave, dear one /
Be changed; be undone"
It is with her signature succinct elegance that Shara Nova dons the beaded dress and finger bells of her alter ego. With birdlike melisma and purred mysticisms, My Brightest Diamond is the unexpectedly congruous result of pressing together Kate Miller-Heidke and a pagan priestess.
Tart and introverted; dense, but not heavy — you would be hard-pressed to find an album better exemplified as a lemon meringue pie. Nova cut her teeth performing alongside eclectic chocolate neocrooner Sufjan Stevens and milk-and-bread indie-folk The Decemberists, but at the helm of her own project she ventures into new, uncharted territory.
Every high school band worth its salt features a functional brass section, and there is no shortage of string-drenched alt-pop splashed over the charts. But what of the woodwinds? For too long have the likes of the fluttering flute and the clastic clarinet languished, underrated and overlooked.
All Things Will Unwind spearheads a woodwind revival, bringing the traditional imitations of birdsong into a modern setting. Each track is decorated differently: here is a twittering parakeet, there a preening bird of paradise, now an imperious peacock.
Of course, at the head of the flock is Nova herself. She exercises restraint in choosing the pecking order, remaining largely aloof as her arrangements sing for themselves. Those few glorious moments when she takes centre stage shine all the brighter.
When our feathered friends vocalise, it is not for our enjoyment. We layfolk are uncomprehending in the face of urgent messages: food, fight, flight, danger. Likewise, Nova chirrups her poetry so sweetly that the menace behind it goes almost unnoticed:
"Upside is downside /
And downside is up /
The tide is not subsiding /
Everything is in line /
All things will unwind"