Jun 04, 2012 Issue #41 - Yeasayer
What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, the debut album by The Mynabirds (the project of Laura Burhenn after the breakup of her band Georgie James), was a wonderful song cycle of soulful Motown-esque pop R&B. On songs such as "Numbers Don't Lie" and "What We Gained in the Fire," Burhenn belted out irresistible melodies backed by a crack band of retro-sounding musicians. GENERALS, however, is, for the most part, nothing like What We Lose in the Fire.
The opening song, "Karma Debt," features Burhenn singing mysterious and smoky-voiced over hypnotic and airy instrumentation. The album's second song, "Wolf Mother," has her sounding like PJ Harvey over militaristic marching drums and throbbing bass. GENERALS is billed in large part as a politically-inspired protest album, and one can mostly make out this intention in the sonic textures and vocal presence that are so unlike What We Lose in the Fire. In the title track, Burhenn incites riot, calling for her "generals," "daughters," and "revolutionists," determined to make someone pay.
Things change pace a bit by track six, the sweeping orchestral ballad "Mightier than the Sword." "Body of Work" is danceable; "Buffalo Flower" is the most like What We Lose in the Fire, a soulful sing-along with heart and inspiration to spare; and the closer, "Greatest Revenge," sounds like '60s girl-group pop.
GENERALS is, to a certain degree, an album in two parts: a vicious, vengeful-sounding beast and a final four songs of more hopeful, soulful pop. However, it's undeniably the first part that hits the hardest and makes the biggest mark. (www.themynabirds.com)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 9/10