When singer-songwriter Shara Worden conceived her debut under the moniker My Brightest Diamond, the classically trained vocalist’s sole accompaniment was to be a string quartet. Displeased with the results, Worden shelved the project, instead making MBD’s eventual debut, 2006’s chamber-rock epic Bring Me the Workhorse.
Following the Workhorse tour (and a stint as head cheerleader in Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise troupe), Worden completed the now-sophomore album, A Thousand Shark’s Teeth, with all-new recordings and arrangements, and a plethora of instrumentation. Though more reserved than Workhorse, Teeth is just as captivating, as Worden’s otherworldly vocals can trigger emotions on par with the likes of Roy Orbison.
Teeth’s fiery opener, “Inside a Boy,” invites comparisons to Jeff Buckley (and Kate Bush) with its mix of electric guitars, strings and ethereal vocal dynamics, and nicely segues into the swirling “Ice and the Storm,” MBD’s first of several brushes with drum and bass. Worden is adorably coy on “Apples,” entering quirky Regina Spektor territory while flirtatiously picking fruit-bearing trees and exploring the seductive art of a properly folded load of laundry.
One wonders whether Worden remains content on the musical fringe with these efforts. Will she take the chamber-pop Spektor (or Feist) route, or aspire to Björk-like recognition?