Release Date: Aug 7, 2015
Record label: Saddle Creek Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
For some there is always one quality within music that they look for, one that instantly embeds the music into conscience and heart. It can be the lyrics, the melody, the meaning or even something more fundamental like the sound of the drums or the rhythm track. For many though, the one thing that truly cuts through to make a piece of music special is the voice.
The third studio long player from the Laura Burhenn-led indie pop outfit, Lovers Know doubles down on the slick electro-pop elements that crept in on 2012's Generals, but also dials back some of the more socio-political aspects of that album in favor of a return to the heartfelt and unabashedly earnest soul searching that dominated the group's 2010 debut, What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood. Inspired by a cross-country American road trip, a South African solo tour, and a bout of European wanderlust, Lovers Know reflects the inward journey that each traveler takes when trying to parse the near constant flow of stimuli that accompanies a grand adventure. Burhenn's sultry baritone and penchant for pairing brooding neo-soul with wide-angle-lens electro-indie rock lends the 12-track set a real Killers-meets-Florence + the Machine vibe, but where those two artists nearly always have their sights set on the nosebleed section, Burhenn manages to keep things emotionally intimate enough that the album's more sonically expansive cuts like "All My Heart," "Wildfire," and "Believer" stay firmly rooted in terra firma.
There’s something going on in the quiver at the end of Laura Burhenn's croon. Burhenn, aka The Mynabirds, has got one of those voices that as it bends, time slows and it seems to scoop a hand through a river of American legends. It’s as if her As are Elvis’s, her bellowing moments have the pixie dust of Springsteen pulled through Brandon Flowers’ widescreen larynx, and when she sings squidgy words like 'edge' it’s hard not to imagine Stevie Nicks’ eyes looming out from her record collection.
For her third album under the moniker The Mynabirds, Laura Burhenn once again takes a step in a different direction, with a profoundly powerful result. Lovers Know is both more personal and intimate than GENERALS, a record that honed in on Burhenn's political instincts, by abandoning the grittier industrial tones for a warmer backdrop of synths and mild guitar flourishes. There's nothing to complain about in this new aesthetic; Lovers Know is damn good.
We all have these types in our lives. Those openhearted, optimistic friends who believe that by giving of themselves honestly, they’ll receive the same in turn. From afar, we, the jaded and disaffected, watch them fall too hard and too fast into relationships that inevitably end in heartbreak. We offer commiserating, supporting shoulders but also shake our heads at the naivety, and in solitary moments we wonder with envy what it is like to feel so openly.
With one line, “I keep changing my additions up,” singer Laura Burhenn announces yet another new direction for her recording project the Mynabirds on “Believer”. Going all pop on her latest release, Lovers Know, Burhenn has spit shined the danceable rhythms and militaristic garage stomp of 2012’s politically-charged Generals, bringing internalized emotion to the fore. Following her 2010 Mynabirds debut, What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, a soulful take on singer/songwriter fare that ranged from Laurel Canyon cool to Fiona Apple, the politically-charged Generals uprooted Woody Guthrie and his call to arms amidst hiccuping Bo Diddley beats befitting Missy Elliott.
“What is real?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?” “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real.” “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
The Mynabirds — Lovers Know (Saddle Creek)Despite the smart lyrics and catchy melodies, the Mynabirds’ true strength has always been Laura Burhenn’s voice. After the pop-rock of indie band Georgie James, Berhenn led the Mynabirds to What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, revealing her strength as a throwback singer, mixing country in soul and sounding more connected to Dusty Springfield than she did to any of her peers. Second album Generals provided harsher pop and political ventures, but Burhenn’s kept her vocal sensibilities.Now with Lovers Know, she has more of synth-pop sound to sing over, but it still leaves her space for her precise but warm phrasings and full delivery.