For those who fear that artists today are too one dimensional and can never break free of their record company shackles, they would be wise to listen to The Mynabirds' deubt 'What We Lose in the Flood...'.
Lead singer Laura Burhenn was previously one half of the indie duo Georgie James. With her new set-up she's brought a new sound and practically a new voice. 'What We Lose in the Fire' banishes her previous indie roots and sets up camp smack bang in the middle of the country/soul camp.
Due to this, those who rated Georgie James might not get what they're looking for with this album. On paper, some might believe that it is perhaps so set away from anything Burhenn has done before that it's in danger of sounding forced. Instead, it's an album full of self-assured, well-written tracks, signalling that Burhenn is more than happy to take this change of direction.
This album really succeeds in showing off Berhenn's voice; it has presence, character for the most part remains traditional in sound. Couple this with some great, and thankfully not overly-produced production from Richard Swift, and it is clear that this is Berhenn's album.
Some of the best tracks include 'What We Gained in the Fire', for its superbly crashing climax and 'We Made A Mountain', which highlights Burhenn's tuneful vocals and allows us to believe Berhenn's claims that the likes of Dusty Springfield and Cat Power are her influences.
Both 'Numbers Don't Lie' and 'Let the Record Go' are easy to heap obvious praise on due to their up-tempo nature, but Berhenn's purposely jaded voice is as impressive on slower tracks such as 'La Rain'.
The sounds on the album have been compared to that of label mate Bright Eyes; with said band's Nate Walcott guesting on the album, that's not entirely unfair. But if Bright Eyes don't do it for you, do not fear; any such influence on this album is very small and is about much more than comparisons to other bands.
Inside the album cover, Berhenn states that it is "Neil Young doing Motown". It partially succeeds at achieving this, which is perhaps the best it could hope to do; many other artists and their works would have been laughed at in declaring something so bold, but here it's somehow accepted.
It is relatively short album, clocking up just over half an hour, which means there's little opportunity for it to fall into the trap of similar albums and get repetitive. It would have been very easy for Berhenn and Swift to overwork this debut album. Thankfully, they made the right call in letting the songs do the leg work. The tracks are consistent and confident but presented in an understated manner; a winning combination on an album that rarely falters.