FKP Scorpio welcomes New York based Singer-Songwriter Margaret Glaspy to Dareshack in support of here new album ‘Echo The Diamond’.
The third full-length from Margaret Glaspy, Echo The Diamond emerged from a deliberate stripping-away of artifice to reveal life for all its harsh truths and ineffable beauty. Like the precious gem of its title, the result is an object of startling luminosity, one capable of cutting through the most elaborately constructed façades. “This record came from trying to meet life on life’s terms, instead of looking for a happy ending in everything,” says the New York-based musician. “The whole experience of creating it felt like effortless catharsis.”
Produced by Glaspy with co-production from her partner, guitarist/composer Julian Lage, Echo The Diamond expands on the frenetic vitality of her widely acclaimed debut Emotions and Math—a 2016 release The New Yorker hailed as an album “in which pretty songs often turn prickly, enriched by carefully measured infusions of dissonance and grit.” This time around, Glaspy worked with drummer/percussionist David King of The Bad Plus and bassist Chris Morrissey (Andrew Bird, Lucius, Ben Kweller), recording at Reservoir Studios in Manhattan and embracing an intentionally unfussy process that left plenty of room for spontaneity. “I love music with a big element of risk to it, which was really the heartbeat of this album,” she says. “A lot of what you hear are the very first takes.” Anchored in the raw yet mesmerizing vocal presence and impressionistic guitar work she’s brought to the stage in touring with the likes of Spoon and Wilco, Echo The Diamond holds entirely true to the spirit of its lyrical explorations, presenting a selection of songs both unvarnished and revelatory.
The follow-up to 2020’s Devotion, Echo The Diamond takes its title from a turn of phrase that Glaspy tossed off in the midst of a conversation with Lage. “Bruce Lee once said to be water—if water is in a teacup, it becomes teacup-shaped; if it’s in a glass, then it takes the shape of that glass,” she recalls. “For me, Echo The Diamond is a way of saying ‘shine bright’, ‘be brilliant.’” All throughout the album, Glaspy’s poetic sense of language creates a heady tension with Echo The Diamond ‘s tempestuous sound, a dynamic in full force on the exultant opening track “Act Natural.” The song captures the strange thrill of infatuation, channeling so much wonder and wide-eyed bewilderment into her lyrics (from the first verse: “Are you a paradise bird?/’Cause violet shines bright in both your eyes/That can’t be natural”).
Spotlighting her rare gift for rendering the most nuanced aspects of the human experience with equal parts primal emotionality and bracing intelligence, Echo The Diamond also offers up sublimely acerbic tracks like “Female Brain”: a visceral yet sharp-witted piece of social commentary that slyly veers between irony and sincerity (“Eating scraps with delight/But I’ll never give up the fight/On suffering and pain/Using my gorgeous female brain”). “That song offers a peek into what life can feel like for me as a woman, especially in the male-dominated landscape that I find myself in,” says Glaspy. “The take we used for the album is actually a rehearsal; we were playing purely on instinct, in a way that was very physical and almost like falling off the edge of a cliff.” “Irish Goodbye,” the following track on Echo The Diamond, shifts into a moment of heavy-hearted storytelling spiked with fuzzed-out guitar and aching harmonies. “That song is partly meant to be a New York City portrait, but on a more personal level, I’m terribly shy and will often slip out the back door in social situations.”