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WPGM Recommends: The Mynabirds – Lovers Know (Album Review)

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The Mynabirds are an American indie pop band originated from Omaha, Nebraska, and founded by singer-songwriter and pianist Laura Burhenn in 2009. The band have just released their new third full length album Lovers Know, which is now streaming on Spotify.

The band’s sound has previously been described as “openhearted, politically engaged, feminist pop that, miraculously, never veers into schmaltz“. Laura Burhenn spent years playing classical piano with stints singing and playing keyboards in rock bands and electronica projects in Washington, D.C, before founding her own record label, Laboratory Records, through which she began releasing various examples of her solo work.

Since then, she formed The Mynabirds and released their debut album What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, when they signed to Saddle Creek record label in 2010, followed by their second album Generals, which was released on June 5, 2012, and was met with near universal critical acclaim. This third album, Lovers Know, took a year to make, with Burhenn driving across the US twice and touring South Africa solo while writing. Following that, she then spent eight months in studios in Los Angeles, Nashville, Joshua Tree and Auckland, New Zealand with producer Bradley Hanan Carter.

The vocal performance by Laura Burhenn hits you instantly with a palpable force on the first track of the album, “All My Heart” as the powerful repeated lyrics swirl around a strong beat and harmonized notes: “I don’t regret a thing, because when I love, I love with all my heart“. The next track “Believer” has a slightly haunting, melancholic sound to it with a strolling beat. The album’s lead single “Semantics” feels a little more nostalgic, with a bittersweet tone in the vocals as the song builds, and “Say Something” slows the pace with scratchier vocals and a sombre tone.

However, “Orion” steals the attention with its instantly resonating guitar riff at the beginning, followed by wholesome vocals in the first verse before the layered pre-chorus leads into a beautifully still chorus backed up by a gentle piano riff with soaring vocals before the guitar riff re-enters. “Velveteen” reveals a darker mood, with deep vocals and haunting backing harmonies as the song tumbles into a slow, addictive momentum combined with light, gentle vocals in the chorus.

Shake Your Head Yes” is an interesting contrast with its more electric sound, with an old video game theme to it, however still with Laura’s fluid vocals. “Wildfire” combines electro-pop with a folky gospel sound, as well as glimpses of powerful guitar riffs. “Omaha” creates yet another contrast, as it opens with a gentle piano, followed by layered ghostly vocals, creating a more church-like sound, with sincere lyrics: “I don’t know if my cup will ever be full”. “One Foot” also maintains a slightly addictive momentum with layers of both Laura’s and a male vocal, with the lyrics contributing to its momentum with its own imagery: “One foot in front of the other”.

The album closes on the song “Hanged Man” which has a slower, regular pace with a powerful beat as the layered vocals tell the story of the song with the same style which seems to be successfully consistent through the entire album, with its handfuls of lyrics presented in magical, mystical ghostly arrangements: “August looked upset, September will keep you good company”.

The album can be described to have futuristic soundscapes, with synthesizer sounds and ‘gauzy’ electric guitars, combined with her deeply confessional lyrics, similar in style to Kate Bush and Sinead O’Connor. The band will be touring America and Europe this Autumn to promote the album, which is definitely not one to miss. Purchase The Mynabirds’ Lovers Know album via Saddle Creek here and visit their website for updates and tour dates.

Words by Lauren Hurrell

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