Thousand Shark's Teeth

Thousand Shark's Teeth

3.0 1
by My Brightest Diamond
     
 

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It's not surprising that My Brightest Diamond's second album was originally intended to be a string quartet-based work, or that it was six years in the making. A Thousand Shark's Teeth is much more orchestrated, polished, and ambitious than Bring Me the Workhorse, and draws even more from Shara Worden's classicalSee more details below

Overview

It's not surprising that My Brightest Diamond's second album was originally intended to be a string quartet-based work, or that it was six years in the making. A Thousand Shark's Teeth is much more orchestrated, polished, and ambitious than Bring Me the Workhorse, and draws even more from Shara Worden's classical training (as well as the work of Maurice Ravel, Tricky, Tom Waits, and painter Anselm Kiefer). The album's elegant instrumentation and arrangements are nothing if not impressive, whether they're relatively simple, as on "If I Were Queen," which concentrates on Worden's immaculate soprano and pizzicato strings, or lavish, as on "Inside a Boy," where chilly strings and keyboards rise to meet Worden's ice princess vocals. However, A Thousand Shark's Teeth sacrifices some of the playfulness and energy that made Bring Me the Workhorse so compelling, and at times Worden's ambitions come close to getting the better of her. "Apples"' plinking percussion -- which owes as much to Evelyn Glennie as it does to Tom Waits -- makes day-to-day chores like folding laundry sound like performance art, and as eerily lovely as "Black & Coustaud" is, its frosty cabaret whimsy is so theatrical that it vaguely resembles an avant-garde show tune. Strangely, despite the album's elaborate scope, at times A Thousand Shark's Teeth is too subtle to make a strong initial impression. However, when the album does connect -- usually when the arrangements and melodies are more direct -- the results are stunning. "From the Top of the World" warms up the mostly frosty sonics and resembles a distant, darker cousin of '60s symphonic pop, a feeling echoed by "To Pluto's Moon," which channels John Barry and Portishead into a goth spy theme. "Bass Player"'s smoky sensuality makes it another standout, while "The Diamond" and "Ice & the Storm" are immediately accessible without compromising the album's lofty themes and sounds. Big ambition means the potential for an equally big failure, and while that's not the case on A Thousand Shark's Teeth, the album is sometimes too over-thought for its own good. Arguably, it's more interesting for Worden to bring some of her high art background to a pop context, as she did on Bring Me the Workhorse, than vice versa. As it stands, A Thousand Shark's Teeth is beautiful, more than a little insular, and ultimately intriguing for anyone willing to listen closely.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/17/2008
Label:
Asthmatic Kitty
UPC:
0656605604626
catalogNumber:
46
Rank:
99228

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

My Brightest Diamond   Primary Artist
Chris Bruce   Bass
Earl Harvin   Drums
Joel Shearer   Guitar
Thomas Kozumplik   Marimbas
Hiroko Taguchi   Violin
David Cossin   Gong,Bells,Waterphone
Zac Rae   Guitar,Keyboards,Marimbas,Vibes,Pump Organ,Guitar (Baritone)
Michael Atkinson   French Horn
Rachael Elliott   Bassoon
Shara Worden   Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Kalimba,Pump Organ,Music Box,Horn Engineer
Maria Jeffers   Strings,Cello
Olivier Manchon   Violin
Julianne Carney   Strings
Rob Moose   Strings,Violin
David Stith   Background Vocals
Ben Lanz   Trombone,Trumpet
Maeve Gilchrist   Harp
Jody Redhage   Cello
Sxip Shirey   Toy Instruments
Marla Hansen   Strings,Viola
Nathan Lithgow   Double Bass
Nadia Sirota   Viola
Ian Smit   Guitar
Gary Stith   Timpani
Garrett Ward   Marimbas
Susan Perelman   Violin
Sebastian Krueger   Clarinet,Bass Clarinet

Technical Credits

Chris Bruce   Bass Engineer
Sufjan Stevens   Guitar Engineer
Zac Rae   Guitar Engineer,Keyboard Engineer
Padma Newsome   String Arrangements
Rachael Elliott   Arranger
Joel Hamburger   Engineer,Vocal Engineer,Bass Engineer
Shara Worden   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,Art Direction
Alex Venguer   Bass Engineer
David Stith   Drawing
Sxip Shirey   Sound Effects
Giovanni Nicoletta   Drum Engineering
James Worden   Photo Assistance

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