My Brightest Diamond - This Is My Hand

It's a bit hard to classify Shara Worden's music. Wedged somewhere between the vocal elaborations of Tori Amos and PJ Harvey, with a taste for orchestral flourishes not dissimilar to labelmate Sufjan Stevens, she has established herself as an unusually thoughtful artist over the course of her first three LPs. This Is My Hand retains her quirky instrumentation – a school marching band drives the opening 'Pressure' and even a disco rhythm finds it's way into 'Lover Killer' – but sees her exploring darker themes lyrically ("I always see the shadows / When I'm looking at the sun" she mourns on 'Looking At The Sun').

Her clear classical voice remains the running thread that keeps a certain unity here. At times playful, always eccentric but with a childlike sincerity in her art, Worden proves herself to be more than the sum of her influences, giving us a set of songs that are intricate but catchy, with only a slight frontloading making the latter stages a little anaemic by contrast. By far her strongest album to date, this should serve as a good starting point for a newcomer to her work.



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