Saddle Creek | The Mynabirds | Reviews



Author: Amanda Coyne
02/27/2012 | USC Daily Gamecock | | Live Show Preview
Laura Burhenn and her quirky collective of Omaha, Neb. musicians are back with the Mynabirds' second album, "GENERALS", due out June 5. The announcement came early last week along with a free download of the title track on label Saddle Creek Records' website.

While lead singer Burhenn once again partnered with producer Richard Swift, who produced the Mynabirds' 2010 debut, "What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood," "GENERALS" is being billed as anything but a repeat performance.

While "What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood" featured Burhenn's soulful crooning reminiscent of former labelmate Jenny Lewis layered over Motown-inspired piano and brass, "GENERALS'" first single kicks off with a gritty guitar riff similar to the Black Keys circa "Brothers" and an energetic chorus of claps, which Saddle Creek's release notes as a prevailing motif in the forthcoming record.

While Burhenn's voice still has much of the soul showcased in the Mynabirds' first album, there is something darker and sultrier about her sound on "Generals." She's acquired a smokier tone just short enough of rough to retain the dark yet smooth sweetness displayed on tracks like "What We Gained in the Fire" and "We Made a Mountain."

The slight grit may be attributed to the subject matter of "GENERALS;" Saddle Creek has billed it as "a protest record and concept album ... fueled by a decade of Burhenn's political frustration." The political imagery can be clearly heard in "Generals," by "calling on" Burhenn's "generals" and asking, "how long have we paid our dues?"

Of course, "GENERALS" does not seem to be a complete departure from the Mynabirds' sound; it still has the folk roots that characterize many Saddle Creek artists. Burhenn also spent most of 2011 playing keyboards on tour with fellow Saddle Creek band Bright Eyes, an indie-folk standby.

If the first single is any indication, the Mynabirds aren't about to hit the dreaded sophomore slump in fact, Burhenn and her musical collective have just begun to undergo what looks to be some tremendous growth that will lead to a promising future.


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