Mutual Benefit at Black Cat Backstage Wednesday, Feb. 5

Mutual Benefit’s lush new record, Love’s Crushing Diamond, is less an album of folk songs than a collage of sounds, some melodic, some extraneous, but all equally vital in telling a story of love, heartbreak, and emotional maturity. Opening track “Strong River” begins as a soft array of strings, guitars, bells, and drums before elevating into an orchestral cacophony, with singer-songwriter Jordan Lee’s tender vocals on top. By the album’s end, on “Strong Swimmer,” Lee finds himself at peace with the current, the song a reprise of “Strong River” but without the same external noise to drown out his message. “You were such/A strong swimmer/And you taught me how/To never fear those tall waves,” he sings, his voice at its most confident and straightforward. It’s through this rise to self-assurance that Love’s Crushing Diamond becomes more than just a personal narrative. Mutual Benefit performs with Teen Mom at 8 p.m. at Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $12. (202) 667-4490. blackcatdc.com.

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