What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood
If you like the big sound of 1960s/’70s singer-songwriters Carole King and Laura Nyro with the vocals of a Cat Power or Fiona Apple, then you will definitely like the retro-rock ‘n’ soul stylings of The Mynabirds’ What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood.
Laura Burhenn of the Washington DC duo Georgie James went out to Oregon after the demise of that earlier band. She teamed up with Richard Swift to write, perform, and produce this ten-song album of dirge-like ballads that borrow heavily from more impressive songstresses.
The title track (and first on the CD) is an OK exercise in copy-Cat Power writing, and “Let the Record Go” is too close to Fiona Apple. “Give It Time” and the Velvet Underground-influenced “Way of Looking” are both standouts, but the songs otherwise seem stuck in a remainder bin of female singer-songwriters who listened to “Criminal” too many times.
On the liner notes, Burhenn said that she got the name from an obscure band Neil Young and Rick James both played with back in Canada one million years ago. “I wanted to make a record that felt like Neil Young doing Motown,” she said.
Well, Neil already did that album, and it was This Note’s For You. Sorry, Laura, yours is not that album. But hey, better luck next time.
Saddle Creek Records: www.saddle-creek.com