After a stark self-titled 2012 debut that earned widespread attention beyond her home country of Finland, Mirel Wagner moves up to Sub Pop but keeps the approach resolutely spare on her second record. Everything revolves around Wagner’s arresting voice, which cloaks her songs in a dark mysticism; she forsakes all ambitions of straight pop as she pushes toward a deeper, more primal connection. “One two three four, what’s underneath the floor?” she inquires in the first line of the first song, which faintly echoes the harrowing minor-key murmur of the Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs.” There may be environmentalist overtones in “The Dirt,” which advises that “you can’t drink the dirt, even if you wanna,” but Wagner’s final dig is much more personal: “You’ll be in the dirt — you’ll be the dirt.” A subtle undercurrent of cello provides exquisite accents to “Ellipsis,” but the vast majority of the album is just Wagner’s voice and guitar. A comparatively brighter musical passage arises in the two repeated ringing chords of “In My Father’s House,” but the spell is never broken — not even on the concluding “Goodnight,” a lullaby that will haunt any notion of sweet dreams.
By Alex Macpherson on 11.18.14 in Features
The Finnish singer/songwriter takes Alex Macpherson into her dark world.
By Andrew Parks on 05.20.14 in News
In case you couldn't tell from Mikael Wood's beaming review or John Morthland's Six Degrees piece, the Wondering Sound staff was quite into the self-titled debut of Mirel Wagner a few years back. Now that she's got the s...
By Wondering Sound Staff on 12.10.12 in Lists
Every year, when eMusic's editorial staff compiles our annual best-of list, the goal is never to come to some kind of academic determination of the year's best records via a series of complicated formulas and criteria. T...
By John Morthland on 03.28.12 in Six Degrees
It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirat...