7/10 Brian Staff review, 09 May 2014
Always fond of the first clutch of albums by this lady, a kooky New York diva who seems to have spent almost her entire career on K records of Olympia, WA.
I cannot even recall quite what her last one was like through the dense mists of time but I'm not sure it was as commercial is this latest collection. She's not dressed up like some weirdo sci-fi babe on the cover for one. This looks more coffee table from the off. Never judge a book but hey-ho. Her tentative, dusky, soulful, honeyed purr seems to have undergone a little studio treatment on a couple of songs to make it a tad more full-throated R'n'B-ish and the music, although edging faintly into left-field in parts, is of a more widescreen, poppy and epic nature than I recall her indulging in before.
It's not remotely a bad LP but it often lacks the experimental charm and outsider idiosyncrasies of her wide-eyed and spartan early work. I actually believe she's a better singer now but in that translation something valuable and cherishable has been lost. The world is stuffed with great soul singers...what we want is individual ones. I've heard 100s of albums like this in my lifetime.
The music is sweeping, beautifully orchestrated, tender, emotive and arresting. Yet somehow a little generic and bland, lost in a sea of other well produced female singer-songwriter records. Her kittenish, breathy folk and grand cinematic soul will hopefully find Mirah the eager audience she undoubtedly deserves. There's even a worthy "grunge"-tinged track in 'I Am The Garden' which will appeal to the old Alanis Morissette brigade. I like the wurlitzer keyboard on it loads. Just not the rest of it.
Sorry to be precious but 'Advisory Committee' is a magical album. 'Changing Light', however, is a little straightforward and obvious to these ears, regardless of the superb musicianship contained within its polished grooves.
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- Changing Light by Mirah
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