Washington D.C. native Laura Burhenn’s The Mynabirds project is now onto its third album and her sound is as refreshingly vital and vigorous as ever. Having spent a year on the road with the Postal Service, it quickly becomes apparent she’s taken their love of synths and gorgeous hooks and implemented it further into her own sound.
Released via the ever-reliable Saddle Creek, the album starts in sultry fashion with ‘All My Heart’ and Laura singing repeatedly about how: ‘I don’t regret it, I don’t regret a thing, because when I love, I love with all my heart’ over some goosebump-inducing synths. When the drums are thrown in halfway through, they’re joined by male backing vocals that add a distinctively tribal feel. ‘Believer’ follows up with a more glitchy, experimental tone as Laura confesses: ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ (although quite clearly she does). Many previous reviews have picked up on ‘Semantics’ as being one of the highlights of the record and we have to agree. It’s more upbeat from the first minute, although the lyrics are full of self-depreciating wisdom: ‘You’re so boring when you talk that way, or maybe I’m a fool to stay’.
Kate Bush-esque yodels and distorted guitar open ‘Say Something’ before it veers back into a more straightforward pop sound with the themes ranging from fighting a war and getting back into bed before a regretful repeat of the words: ‘I thought we were changing’. ‘Orion’ has a more electronic feel that captures the spirit of Bright Eyes’ ‘Digital Ash in a Digital Urn’ album, and it also has an emotional pull that Conor Oberst, or maybe Briana Marela, would be proud of: ‘Orion, my strong man, I dream of you as real as I am.’
‘Wildfire’ is a fist-pumping anthem full of intelligent hooks, while ‘One Foot’ is more guitar based and full of motivation: ‘Over the mountains, like water running, I won’t sleep again until I’m laying with you’. There’s a more awry sound on ‘Hanged Man’ that mixes autobiographical tales about ponies with a sweeping carousel melody and a classical edge… Powerful, poignant and full of songs you’ll want to return to again and again, ‘Lovers Know’ is an album that knows exactly what it wants to be – and it leaves an irresistible impact.