Released August 18th, Margaret Glaspy’s third studio album, the long-awaited Echo the Diamond, is written with agonizing precision to deliver her perspective on grief, girlhood, and growth. Every song packs its own punch of visceral lived experiences to deliver a heartachingly beautiful message, made bittersweet with Glaspy’s honeyed voice and hypnotic guitar. According to Glaspy, “A lot of what you hear are the very first takes.”
Glaspy worked with partner, composer, and co-producer Julian Lage for this follow-up to her 2020 album Devotion, while paying homage to her debut, Emotions and Math by returning to a focus on gritty and experimental guitar sounds. “This record came from trying to meet life on life’s terms, instead of looking for a happy ending in everything,” Glaspy states, explaining that the creation of the album felt like an effortless catharsis. With just one listen, that much is clear– she finds truth through her wisdom, which developed through struggles that she rightfully lays out like laurels in the ten-song LP. While it is shorter than her sophomore album, it is a powerful, guttural experience. The title draws inspiration from a conversation with Lage, in which she referenced when Bruce Lee said to “be water.” Glaspy elaborates, “For me, Echo The Diamond is a way of saying ‘shine bright’, ‘be brilliant.’” The comfort she found in producing this album shines bright and undoubtedly shows her own brilliance.
The album opens with very clear roots in her influences, particularly Sonic Youth, as she spits out embittered observations and smiles to the listener through sardonic wordplay. The first track, “Act Natural”, echoes with guitars reminiscent of Mason Lindroth’s experimental acoustic work, and showcases Glaspy’s incredible range and lyricism. The track leads into two consecutive feminist gut punches with “Get Back” and “Female Brain” oozing with biting social commentary and the well-earned snark of a woman scorned and wronged by the system and her surroundings. “Irish Goodbye” is not only a story told to characterize New York but also reveals the shyness that Glaspy herself possesses, quite literally ending the song with an Irish goodbye as it curtly ends and shifts to the next song, taking the focus off her vulnerability for a moment as she gets to step away from scrutiny before delving back into her emotions. The raw emotion of each piece amplifies itself through each song, becoming more tender as the album plays on.
The ethereal “I Didn’t Think So” is a departure from the punk influence of the prior tracks, becoming more personal and pained, each track more resonant than the last. Like the cutting of an onion, every component of Echo the Diamond acts as a layer that gets to the core of Glaspy’s loss and pain, causing tears to be shed by both the listener and Glaspy herself. “Memories”, the sixth song, exemplifies this perfectly. “‘Memories’ was probably the most challenging song for me to track; the take you hear is the only one I was able to get through completely,” she admits. The album is meant to be a reflection of a recent loss for her, but she intended for it to also be a healing experience for all those dealing with any sort of similar anguish.
The overarching theme of the album seems to be at its height with “Turn the Engine” as she croons:
All I can do is all that I am
I tapped out yesterday but I’m back in the ring again
It’s okay to cry
We’re all in the same boat just trying to get by
Her poetic lyrics and the spine-chilling crescendos of her voice amplify the emotions packed into the album, clarifying her intent behind putting out such a personal work. Putting tear-jerker after tear-jerker together, Glaspy pulls the listener in for a hug, showing her understanding of the pain many have been through, reminding them they are not alone. This embrace is cut short by “Hammer and the Nail”, which loops back into the painful vulnerability of “Memories”, with these particular lyrics sticking out as her voice trails into a pained whisper:
This goddamn song
Is so true
I can hardly sing along
The loving song “My Eyes” follows, bringing warmth back into the album before “People Who Talk” plays, a comforting closing track that implores people to not just talk, but speak and listen to one another as she hopes to recover her lost innocence from her recent experiences. Echo the Diamond is haunting and coarse, but like a harsh reality, it is easy to find the beauty and magic in it all.
Glaspy begins touring for the album this fall, starting in September in the United Kingdom and wrapping it up in the United States from October through November. Ticket pricing and tour dates are available on Bandsintown, which also lists every platform available for purchasing tickets. As of August 18th, Glaspy has released music videos two songs (“Act Natural” and “Get Back”), and both an acoustic version and official lyric video for “Memories”, as well as the rest of the album on her YouTube channel. The album is available on Spotify and other major streaming platforms.