L.A. Loves You Back

Lavender Diamond frolic through verdant fields of hippy-dippy joyfulness

You fans of wispy indie-pop ladies have it about as good as it's ever been right now: You've got Feist, you've got El Perro Del Mar, and now you've got Lavender Diamond, an L.A.-based outfit centered around singer-songwriter Becky Stark, whose last gig was as part of a traveling multimedia theater piece called Birdsongs of the Bauharoque. (Blame her years at Brown.) Stark's bandmates on Imagine OurLove—the full-length follow-up to a 2005 EP that earned Lavender Diamond their Matador deal—include guitarist Jeffrey Rosenberg (a former member of L.A.'s Young People) and drummer Ron Regé Jr., a prolific cartoonist who once played with the Swirlies.

Guided by producer (and part-time Pernice Brother) Thom Monahan, these guys give Imagine Our Love the sumptuous mid-'70s country-rock vibe that appears to be all L.A. hipster chicks' default mode; several tunes here could pass for unjustly scrapped Rabbit Fur Coat outtakes. But the album is definitely Stark's show: With its swoops and flutters and trills, her singing is one of the indie world's most joyful noises, a free-flowing river of feeling mercifully undammed by the self-consciousness that often makes this kind of material feel studied and airless. Though they're as shapely as anything by any of her peers, Stark's melodies tumble out of her like she's making them up as she goes (even in the slo-mo ballads, which can tend toward the dreary). In "Here Comes One," she salutes a fellow dreamer over a bopping showtune beat: "You have opened your heart with your mind."

Lavender Diamond play the Bowery Ballroom June 3, boweryballroom.com

 
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