Northwest chanteuse releases a mixed bag of rarities for lo-fi lovers
There’s a thin,
pastel-colored line between sweet and saccharine, and Pacific
Northwest-based songstress Mirah has toed it for over 10 years now.
Her particular sonic brand of lo-fi intimacies and unabashed (often
libidinous) confessions tends either to melt its way into weepy
hearts or to nettle those with less mawkish sensibilities.
these lines, the rare and unreleased tracks that make up The Old
Days Feeling don’t reveal anything astonishing—except that
the songs here are even lower-fi and more unabashed than much of what
has appeared on Mirah’s three full-lengths. And as a windfall of
such songs for fans, there are certainly reasons to rejoice: “The
Sun” starts small but grows into a rich choral anthem; “Don’t!”
delights as an unfailingly catchy doo-wop tune; “Location
Temporary” aches and echoes through its minute-long lifespan.
what’s most interesting about The Old Days Feeling is
what’s thrown into relief by its less winsome moments. At times,
Mirah’s quirks distract and detract, as with the exceptionally
forthright lyrics on “Dreamboat” (“Hey, how about some of that
lubrication / ‘cause this motor’s getting ready for some
fornication.”) and the over-exposed, squeaking guitar slides on
“Lone Star.” What could be charming, in such cases, winds up
feeling coy and cloying instead.
the end, Feeling shows just how delicate the balances are that
Mirah is capable of striking, and how fine-tuned a song’s mechanics
must be in order for it to work properly. It does so, however, more
as an archival study of Mirah’s craft than by proving the point itself.