Thao & Mirah | Thao & Mirah
Most Likely To: leave you beautifully disoriented.
Both talented and enjoyable artists in their own right, I was rather excited to get my hands on their self-titled debut LP. Admittedly, the album’s greatness is not immediately evident as it requires several listens before becoming accustomed to the sudden transitions and quirky embellishments that sets this duo apart.
Not quite as fun, energetic, or whimsical as Thao with the Get down Stay Down and not quite as poignant as Mirah’s carefully composed folk, their joint effort lands somewhat awkwardly in the middle. That said, the album still has many bright moments and is impressive in their bold exploration of new territory, blending charm with disorder.
Pushing each other musically, Thao & Mirah have broken ground that they likely would not have been comfortable approaching on their own. Beginning with the jarring beats and amelodic sounds of the album’s opening track “Eleven,” it is readily apparent that they do things a bit diferently. Deftly juxtaposing chaos and beauty, “Eleven” vaguely resembles MIA with its electronic beats, dominating drums, and the chaotic swirl of noise (although the song distinguishes itself from any MIA effort as it has significantly better vocals).
From there the album becomes a frenzied roller coaster with each song varying widely from the exuberant blaring horns of “Rubies and Rocks,” to the dueling antagonism of “How Dare You,” and the jangling slide guitar of “Squareneck.” Yet, despite these flourishes, the album is dominated primarily by quiet folk ballads and finger-picked guitar melodies.
While the sudden transitions may be a bit unnerving, it showcases their impressive range and their adventurousness. These daring experimentations may not always hit the mark, but when they do, it’s a smash. In particular, the combination of their unique vocal styles complements each other perfectly. Mirah’s dark, breathy, intimate whispers fill in any gaps that Thao’s loose and soulful warbling may leave.
Songs that deserve some special attention include “Eleven,” “Little Cup,” “Rubies and Rocks,” and “How Dare You.” Be patient as these tracks may take some getting used to, but when you begin to understand what it is they sought to achieve, their beauty comes rushing to the forefront.
On their debut album, Thao & Mirah have achieved what a collaboration of this nature should, an audacious new direction for both, and the result is an LP filled with dissonance, chaos, and beauty.
Listen to “Eleven” by Thao & Mirah (featuring tUnE-YarDs):
[audio:http://one-track-mind.com/audio/thaoandmirah.mp3|artists=Thao and Mirah|titles=Eleven (featuring tUnE-YarDs)]