Mirah, Changing Light

Megan Seling

By Megan Seling

on 05.13.14 in Reviews

After going through what her press release refers to as a “scorching” break-up, Mirah did what any grief-stricken human would do — she burned down the world as she knew it and started to rebuild with some help from her friends. For her fifth album, Changing Light, the Brooklyn-based songwriter collaborated with Mary Timony, violinist Emily Wells and Craig Saunier of Deerhoof, among others, to create an arsenal of gorgeous songs that visit every emotion on the post-heartbreak spectrum.

Visiting every emotion on the post-heartbreak spectrum

She also explores both old and new territory, musically — the soft, sad acoustic ballad “Fleet Foot Ghost” recalls the poignant and quiet moments of Mirah’s earlier work on Advisory Committee, while the bare “Oxen Hope” nods to a new, electronically-inclined side as she duets with a pitch-shifted version of herself.

It’s clear that Mirah’s sorting through some dark shit. A goat slits a shepherd’s throat in the embittered, percussion-heavy opener “Goat Shepherd”; there’s a vulnerable pining in the horn and synth-laced “Turned the Heat Off”; and in the first line of the borderline-sadistic “24th St.” she croons, “Honey, I don’t wanna treat you bad, but I’m gonna leave you,” before emotionally manipulating the subject to stick around and make dinner anyway. But just before we start to wonder if she’s going to be all right, she reassures us that she’ll survive, we all will, by ending Changing Light with the breezy, carefully optimistic pop song “Radiomind.”

If “Radiomind” had fallen into any other hands — produced by Dr. Luke, for example — it’d no doubt be the huge summer hit we all hate by Labor Day. But Mirah keeps the simple “music saves” message feeling light and sophisticated instead of naive and sugary, and it’s the much needed dose of comfort at the end of an album that’ll otherwise make you want to tie barbed wire around your heart.