Posted June 5, 2014 by Cooper Point Journal in Arts & Entertainment
 
 

ALBUM REVIEW – Mirah: ‘Changing Light’

EVERGREEN ALUM’S NEW, FIFTH SOLO ALBUM ADDS TO ROBUST BODY OF WORK

BY BLAINE EWIG

MIRAH-LPcover-DRAFT_webBefore I began listening to the album, I knew that I would inevitably be comparing “Changing Light” to Mirah’s masterpiece of a debut, “You Think It’s Like This, But It’s Really Like This” (2000)—the light, carefree, airy soundtrack to many a summer evenings sipping lemonade on front porches and watching the sun go down. It’s an ideal summer album about waiting and reflection.

But this review isn’t for “You Think It’s Like This,” and if you haven’t already gotten yourself familiarized with Mirah’s robust body of work, I would suggest doing so immediately. The Evergreen alumnae released her first solo album on K Records and has since gone on to produce four subsequent solo records, along with several side projects and collaborations, most notably “Thao and Mirah,” on which Mirah collaborated with Thao Nguyen of Thao and The Get Down Stay Down.

“Changing Light” was released on May 13 on Absolute Magnitude Recordings, with support from K Records. The album doesn’t necessarily offer the same lo-fi stylings or lighthearted attitude of “You Think It’s Like This.” The production is more polished and the emotion more heavy. As a whole, the album is more mature and nuanced. Listening to the lyrics, it’s clear that “Changing Light” is about love, relationships, breaking up, and renewal. Mirah’s lyrics are always deeply personal, resulting in music wrought with beautiful catharsis that is specific but still vague enough to relate to.

“Goat Shepherd” starts the album out on a threatening note. “Said the goat to the shepherd,” Mirah sings, “I will cut your throat, I will eat you whole, I will let you know who’s really in control of the mountain.” There’s a real eeriness—both lyrically and musically. Violins in “Gold Rush” crescendo and decrescendo, creating waves and layers that Mirah’s voice floats atop.

“No Direction Home” features horns that repeat monotonously like boat signals underneath Mirah’s vocals, sounding as though they are about to interrupt her—they never do, but they compete for attention in a way that pulls the listener in two separate directions.

The second half of the album is less cynical in tone. This seems intentional, as if Mirah is painting a picture of the resentfulness of love gone sour and the subsequent forgiveness that comes with time. “LC” presents consistent and simplistic organ sounds that cause listeners to focus on the artfully composed lyrics.mirah12_web

The last track, “Radiomind” hints at Mirah’s earlier work, and leaves the solemn album on a brighter and more nostalgic note. The acoustic guitar and relaxed, melodic vocals are stripped down compared to the rest of “Changing Light.” There are ambient noises that sounds like birds chirping. “I always had the radio on my mind,” Mirah sings. The song feels like letting go. The album didn’t win me over until this last track, which I listened to approximately six times in a row.

“Changing Light’ is not your new carefree summer jam. In fact, its lyrical content is rather serious and emotionally charged. However, it stands on its own, existing as a testament to the renewal of morale after a long, harsh winter/relationship/breakup, or whatever you decide.