• My Brightest Diamond
    This Is My Hand
    Asthmatic Kitty

    Otherworldly, regal and mesmerizing— this is Shara Worden. And with her latest album under the guise of My Brightest Diamond, Worden has revealed the goddess within.

    This writer was first exposed to the songstress’s powerful alto on the Decemberists’ theatrical The Hazards of Love (Capitol, 2009). She portrayed a vengeful queen so convincingly, it wouldn’t be absurd to think she stepped out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Worden carries that imposing presence to This Is My Hand, which is less of a musical album and more of a museum of modern art or a planetarium.

    A drum line christens My Hand, announcing the arrival of this ethereal figure. “Pressure” plays like a ticker-tape parade in a Tim Burton film, as the sylph Worden commands, “Disperse the white light.” It’s this indie witchery that swirls around the 10 tracks, akin to the mastery of St. Vincent’s Annie Clark. A standout song that would do Clark proud, “I Am Not the Bad Guy,” sputters with mechanical drums, noir-ish horns and Worden’s haunted, off-kilter vocals. It’s a weird and wonderful approach.

    This Is My Hand’s titular offering has a paranormal allure. As Worden lists off characteristics and inner traits, it’s as though she’s serving as ambassador of the human race to some interstellar species. It’s romantic and robust, like a Darren Aronofsky film. And like the director’s fluid works, Worden’s songs are full of surprises. “Lover Killer” starts languidly but becomes a fuzzy, elfin dance number. And multi-instrumentalist/producer Zac Rae’s (Fiona Apple, Lana Del Rey) continued contributions to the My Brightest Diamond experience bring a maddening, thrilling aspect to it all.

    Give Shara Worden a Hand for her newest album. It is gorgeous and palatial.

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