Lavender Diamond, OCMA, July 19, 2007

Categories: live review

Lavender Diamond demurely demand world peace forever.

First thing I hear out of Lavender Diamond singer Rebecca Stark's well-designed mouth—and uttered with not a trace of snarkiness—is something to the effect of “Let's hear it for peace on Earth.” The editor in me always wants to retort, “Like, where else—Saturn?” (This is why people tend to shun me at parties.)

Anyhow, Stark's little preamble at July's edition of Orange Crush wasn't unexpected by anybody who read Tom Child's fine Lavender Diamond piece in OC Weekly or by anyone who has seen the Los Angeles band in the flesh. She and pianist Steven Gregoropoulos, drummer Ron Rege, Jr. and guitarist Devon Williams seem to be unironically idealistic, for reals. How they remain immune to LA's cynicism is a mystery that may never be solved.

Dressed in a salmon or peach gown (hard to tell in OCMA's lighting) and wearing a corsage, Stark looks like an archetypal mid-20th-century entertainer: a wholesomely pretty, clear-skinned brunette possessing a gorgeous, pure-toned voice that goes down so damned easy (some coarser grain actually would be welcome at times). She's also one of the most congenially chatty musicians I've ever seen.

Stark introduces “The Garden Rose” as a song written on the first day of Bush II's Iraq War. It's a mellifluous, country-esque ballad that wafts somewhere between Mazzy Star and Neko Case; no wonder so many folks are loving this band. Another piece is preceded by an anecdote detailing Gregoropoulos chopping off his fingertip in Amsterdam—and then unknowingly eating it along with his sandwich. Stark declares “Open Your Heart” a “song of practical intention,” and that it is. It's also incredibly engaging, rollicking and milky white, like everything in LD's canon. “Oh No” is probably Lavender Diamond's most intense tune, with Stark asking, “When will I love again?” a question that sadly resonates with your correspondent. Sniff.

When Stark at one point announces that “This song ['Open Your Heart'] is written for all the people in all the cities of the world,” even jaded old me can't sneer, but rather marvel at Lavender Diamond's indefatigable optimism and supremely catchy, lilting songcraft. One can almost believe they could dominate this world, if it were worth doing so at this late date.


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