What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood
Author: Bao Le-Huu
While the path taken by her former Georgie James partner John Davis (with new power-pop band Title Tracks) is rocking effervescence, Laura Burhenn's is mature, feminine grace. In fact, this album is an emergence fully formed enough to prove that the time she spent in the chrysalis conceiving this project was time well spent. Burhenn now joins the mighty class of young indie ladies like Cat Power and Neko Case who are re-contextualizing the classic American songbook. Wafted by warm, sonorous production, sumptuous pianos and rich patina is a vintage blend of smoldering soul, gospel, rock and roll, and even a little country ("Good Heart"). The most remarkable star, however, is her voice, which has decanted into something with far more depth and body than was hinted at before.
Of the many strong moments, the best are the Muscle Shoals opulence of "What We Gained in the Fire," the dusty stomp of "Let the Record Go," the perfect gospel of "Numbers Don't Lie," the sweet soul of "La Rain," and the Mazzy Star-like economy of "Ways of Looking." Supple yet outstandingly substantial, What We Lose is an accomplished work that immediately puts Burhenn in the ranks of today's female American greats.