Detroit-based artist Shara Worden is a rare talent. How rare? She’s tackled Polish composer Henryk Górecki’s Third Symphony, led a marching band through the Sundance Film Festival, and performed in a baroque opera of her own composition. All while fronting one of the Midwest’s most interesting rock bands (and all in one month). Now she brings us a new EP called I Had Grown Wild.
When Worden’s band My Brightest Diamond released None More Than You in July of 2014, they began a song cycle that would continue with their incredible full-length This Is My Hand, and that culminates with this month’s new release. I Had Grown Wild includes two new songs, as well as English and French language remixes of “This Is My Hand.” A tropical, brightly plucked melody replaces the spooky synths on “Ceci Est Ma Main (Groundlift Remix),” which blossoms with more rolling melodies and bursts of brass over a jubilant, stomping beat.
Second on the EP is “Say What,” a folk-jazz masterpiece that keenly references Billy Holiday’s classic protest song “Strange Fruit.” Worden’s ethereal poetry drifts over effervescent guitar picking reminiscent of Ryley Walker’s “Primrose Green,” but with none of the pastoral serenity. Instead, “Say What” moves with a brooding urgency befitting its tragic timeliness.
Following a French language version of This Is My Hand closing track “Apparition,” My Brightest Diamond breaks into the nervous beat that kicks off “Bronze Head.” It’s a post-punk jam with a throbbing bass line and it’s also full of re-worked William Butler Yeats lines sourced from his poem of the same name. “Bronze Head” has a crunching hook that’s got a bit of St. Vincent swagger, but Worden’s vocal cries at the end give the song a distinctly MBD finish.
I Had Gone Wild closes with the English remix of “This Is My Hand” and a Hood Internet remix of another old song, “Love Killer.” Together, these six tracks are a beautiful way to wrap up this two-year period in the history of My Brightest Diamond. While there’s certainly enough music to absorb here in the present, it’s nearly impossible not to be excited imagining what directions Worden might take the band in next.
The vinyl release of I Had Gone Wild (Asthmatic Kitty Records) is sold out, but you can still purchase it digitally here. Shara Worden can currently be seen in the opera You Us We All, for which she also wrote the music. Dates below.
Nov 11 Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY
Nov 12 Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY
Nov 13 Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY
Nov 14 Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY
Nov 17 Carolina Performing Arts, NC