Mutual Benefit aka Jordan Lee’s sixth album ‘Growing At The Edges’ is a soft, indie, folk album full of sweet choruses and intricate little patterns. The whole album could be used to accompany a coming-of-age film, it is full of emotional charm.
The album starts with the self-titled track, a heartfelt piece focused on the main sentiment of the album, a great start to ‘Growing At The Edges’. It has a sensitive vibe to it, full of chimes and swelling strings and horns. It is followed by a sweet piano interlude accompanied by strings, ‘Remembering A Dream’. The album has several interludes, such as ‘Prefiguring’ and ‘Winter Sun’, ‘Cloudless Sky’, which create a peaceful cinematic feel. Each interlude could work as a lullaby, they are playful and nocturnal.
Lee collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Birnbaum and violinist Concetta Abbate on the album, intending for it to feel like a live ensemble. He also worked with Jonnie Baker (Florist), Eva Goodman (Nighttime), Nick Jost (Wilder Maker, Baroness), and Sean Mullins (Wilder Maker, Sam Evian). ‘Growing At The Edges’ focuses on the areas of life that have made to feel worthless due to capitalism throughout the album. Lee states value has been taken out of so many art forms, what is growing on the edge of that wasteland is what he is interested in.
The single ‘Untying A Knot’ is a decorated soft song with peaceful vocals about focusing on self-growth. Lee said that he wanted to take in new information and find a new perspective on life, as evidenced by the lyrics that he is “parting with the hollow version of what he thought he knew…” It has the same feeling as a song by Adrienne Lenker/Big Thief. In a note, Lee states that it took roughly five years to write and record this album, inarguably it has paid off.
Words: Amelie Grice