Mira is the kind of debut CD that makes me hope like hell there’s a follow-up coming from the band very soon. Unlike most of Projekt’s roster, Tallahassee-based Mira doesn’t fit in the gothic ambient mold, although you can maybe hear some of labelmate Love Spirals Downwards in Mira’s fuzzed-out guitars paired with gorgeous female vocals (the much-lamented Moon Seven Times might be another fair point of comparison). Current critical pigeonholing would probably slide Mira into the “shoegazer” box, but that just doesn’t capture the raw emotional power of the album to suck you in and spit you out staggering in wonder at the end.

Whatever you want to call Mira’s music, it’s breathtaking. Take “Cayman,” for instance, which starts with solo bass, then kicks in shimmering guitars, drums, and Regina Sosinski’s paradoxical voice, sometimes small and vulnerable, sometimes confident and defiant, but always lovely. The song builds up a wall of fuzzed-out guitar and pounding drums, knocks it all down to a gentle strumming, then throws it back up again, just one example of the awesome range and control of dynamics that runs throughout the album.

My favorite track, though, is “Real,” a breakup song that kicks the usual wounded mopiness in the ass, focusing instead on the frustrating mix of anger/pain/sadness/confusion that all too often marks the end of something that might once have been beautiful, or might have been shit from the start. Quick-strummed nervous guitar with dark undertones of bass sliding underneath becomes a seething sea of sound, heavy waves of distorted guitar and drums alternating with gentle picking and strumming, slowly receding till only the solo lonely voice is left, repeating a mantra of love and loss, then nothing, nothing at all.

Projekt/Darkwave, P.O. Box 166155, Chicago, IL 60616; http://www.projekt.com

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