Then halfway through the set, Becky tried to levitate the whole crowd with the power of The Force.
After five years, L.A's Lavender Diamond is back on the music scene with a new album. Their set tonight at Mercury showcased all the new tunes off Incorruptible Heart. While their previous work was whimsical and eccentric, this one is more sorrowful. It's a breakup album from lead singer Becky Stark. It actually started as a solo album until she scrapped that idea and decided to turn to her main band to get out her feelings. In those five years, she's been doing vocals with She & Him and The Decemberists and a side project, the Living Sisters with Inara George and Eleni Mandell.
Stark is the main draw of the band. She's a little goofy. It makes her endearing. While she's singing and hitting those difficult high notes, she's sincere. Between songs, she's goes off on tangents and observations. It's almost like stand-up comedy. It reminds me of Kings of Convenience where you go from being involved with the song to expecting jokes and laughter between songs. Tonight, she described the songs they were doing as business casual. For an album that's filled with 60s girl group feelings as filter through a Linda Ronstadt/70s singer-songwriter style, she's a little bundle of delight.
It's probably the reason I've seen them multiple times. I first saw them at CMJ 2006 at North Six (for you youngings, it was where Music Hall of Williamsburg is now), and even back then they were the little band that could. That had a few known songs like "You Broke My Heart" and "Open Your Heart", which appeared on their Matador release, Imagine Our Love. Their thing is taking complicated feelings and making them beautiful. They closed their set with "Everybody's Heart's Breaking Now", a dreamy ballet of Stark's locals and organ melody.
The sparkly tunes continues into the weekend, where they play Glasslands on Saturday.