Seattle’s music scene is special in its own right. Just like Texas has its own country scene away from Nashville, Seattle has a music scene with its own identity. Obviously you think Nirvana when Seattle music is mentioned, but beyond them a music scene still thrives. Alicia Dara and Glen Cooper are both long time singers and songwriters in Seattle. Dara is a member of indie-rock band The Volcano Diary. However, with a wave of inspiration to write songs that didn’t fit with that band’s identity and vision, Alicia Dara ventured elsewhere to satisfy her musings. On her personal blog, Dara explains:
“I wanted to be less specific and more universal, to say something true about the human condition… How the people closest to us form the matrix of our spiritual practice, and how loving them makes us return to this moment, again and again. How our mortality is beautiful, and sacred.”
So to record these new songs without compromising TVD’s vision, Dara established a side project with long time friend, Glen Cooper. “I think because we both understand how the natural world evokes powerful metaphors for the human experience,” she writes on her blog. And thus with a musical vision and partner, Diamondwolf was born. The duo’s first full length album, Your Time Has Come, is chock-full of powerful metaphors, flawless folk, Americana instrumentation, and beautiful harmonies.
Your Time Has Come begins with “When I Rise.” Alicia Dara leads the way on this track. Actually, for all but the last song, Dara provides the lead vocals with Cooper harmonizing behind her. She has a beautiful voice that adds an extra layer to each song. This song is about getting over a relationship. She’s still in a dark stage of heartbreak recovery, but knows she will rise. Up next is “Cool Blue Fire.” I listened to this song about three or four times, and still couldn’t really decipher a meaning from the lyrics. However, thanks again to Alicia Dara’s personal blog, I found this:
“I can feel the colors when I perform. Lately the colors have been working their way into the lyrics I’ve been writing for my new band Diamondwolf. Our song “Cool Blue Fire” came directly from synesthetic experience.”
Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon where the “stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.” To drastically over simplify it, basically when Alicia Dara hears music, she has colorful visions. (I highly recommend reading both links above about Synesthesia and Dara’s personal experience with it.) “Cool Blue Fire” is a beautiful song, and the abstractness of it adds more beauty to the lyrics.
“Crasher” deals with a broken relationship. This song is just one example of how the guitar works in favor of the song. Throughout the whole album, production and instrumentation is simple, meaning they play what is necessary and don’t overload the songs. “Unbound (You Know My Name)” is a song about finding freedom in love. The acoustic melody and the vocals, along with the writing, make “Unbound” one of the album’s top tracks.
The writing on Your Time Has Come is wonderful, and the imagery in “Swan Song” is a perfect example of it. It’s another song of a relationship ending, but with descriptions of carrying a shadow while it fades and lyrics like “the sweet, sweet Siren cries through the endless fire burning in your eyes” raise the song above other songs of the same subject matter. I talked about the simplistic production, and “Supermoon” is a song with very little instrumentation. Dara and Cooper’s voices are front and center and carry the song. It’s a song about how they may have over estimated the strength of their love, and how the spell of the rare super moon influenced their actions and thoughts. Following this is “Burn Him Down.” A heavy acoustic strum drives this song about a woman who’s in yet another poisonous relationship with a bad man.
“Limited Time” is another album standout. The relationship in this song appears to be on the fringes. Maybe it’s just a bad spell, maybe it’s the end, but they both hope they reunite their love and spark a fire bright enough to lead them to the other side of the darkness. I really love everything about this song. It’s grounded in a realness of life in a relationship, and has some great imagery and vocals. However, in “Across The Water” she’s the one who’s ended things. This decision may have been rash though and she’s hoping he’ll forgive her and call to her across the water to return. The album ends with “Mantra,” a song where Glen Cooper sings the lead. This song is about getting over the loss of someone you love. It’s a tough grieving process, but “if color fades out no shadows remain.” Sometimes waiting it out is the only way to get over our grief. Cooper also reminds us that we’ll see the ones we miss once again.
Overall, Your Time Has Come, is a fantastic album. Many times, it’s the Indie music artists who are the most talented in both writing and instrumentation, and Diamondwolf is no exception to that thought. In fact, they’re a great example of that thought. The deep metaphors and meaning found in the writing of these songs are a lost art in mainstream music. Alicia Dara and Glen Cooper sing these deep lyrics beautifully on every track. Even though you may have to listen to some of these songs a few times to fully grasp the meaning, it’s worth it. The reality and honesty grounded in each track only makes Your Time Has Come that much better. I highly recommend this album.